Costs for individual Obamacare policies are expected to be 24 percent higher next year. Voters will see for themselves the huge premium spikes when open enrollment starts just a week before Election Day.Oops. Depend on the opposition to call attention to the prices.
Insurers are pulling out of the exchanges after losing billions of dollars, leaving people with fewer choices. Deductibles are soaring to as high as $12,000 on exchange policies, and many people say they might as well be uninsured.Count on the opposition to point out, in particular, this component of Let Us Continue, which is Mrs Clinton's theme, slogans notwithstanding.
This Obamacare inflation impacts everyone. August saw the biggest monthly gain in prices for medicine, doctor appointments and health insurance since 1984, according to a recent report by Kaiser and the Health Research & Education Trust. The average employer-sponsored family policy now costs more than $18,000 a year.
Clinton owns the failures of Obamacare after telling Iowa voters: "I will defend the Affordable Care Act, but as president I want to go further."First, tie down the private insurers with regulation, then attempt to create a public agency to pick up the pieces. We tried that with railroads. Fortunately, transportation policy doesn't attract a lot of attention, and on occasion wiser heads prevail.
So Clinton actually wants to double down on Obamacare, even after seeing public support for the health law tumble. She wants to create another big government "public option" health insurance plan. The "option" would have unlimited calls on taxpayer dollars and government force and would quickly drive remaining private insurers out of the market, leaving people with only the "choice" of a government-run health plan.
Perhaps the quasi-public, not for profit cooperatives provide a cautionary tale.
The idea might have more traction were it not for the experience of a similar experiment the nonprofit, citizen-run health insurance cooperatives concocted by Obamacare. The co-op program cost taxpayers $2.4 billion, but 17 of the 23 state co-ops have failed, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to scramble to find new policies.Perhaps those symbols will be sufficient inducement to consider something else. Interstate competition among insurers? Health savings accounts? The end of the bundling of health insurance with employment?
Nonetheless, supporters of the law proclaim its success to a skeptical public. They boast that the law has reduced the number of uninsured to 29 million still a far cry from the promised universal coverage.
Many of the 10 million receiving insurance through the health insurance exchanges are there because they lost their earlier policies. And Medicaid has been expanded by 16 million since 2010, relegating beneficiaries to one of the worst health care programs in America.
The uninsured rates may be falling, but unhappiness with our health system is rising. Deservedly or not, Obamacare is taking the fall. It has become a symbol of broken promises and distrust in government. It is an albatross for Clinton.