HHS still claims Obamacare helped mitigate health insurance rate spikes
Just yesterday I blogged about upcoming health insurance rate hikes. Health insurance plans offered on an exchange (like those purchased by most self-employed individuals) will see double-digit premium increases.
Not only are premiums and deductibles sky-rocketing, but consumer choice is dwindling. Insurer complaints are the same — health insurance consumers are sicker and older than their original models predicted, making affordable insurance a virtually impossible offering.
Worse still — the Obama administration is completely out of touch with their hallmark legislation’s ramifications.
Just last month HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell wrote an Op-Ed arguing Obamacare has helped mitigate rate hikes.
Overall, independent experts calculate that Marketplace premiums are currently 12% to 20% lower than the Congressional Budget Office predicted when the ACA was passed. Even with this year’s proposed rate changes, consumers will likely pay less next year than they would have if rates had come in and grown as CBO predicted.
“Independent experts.” This is not my believing face.
In most places and for most people, the Marketplace is working well, and I expect it will continue to grow in the years ahead. But the administration, insurers, states, and Congress all have a role to play in making it work even better, informed by the past three years of experience.
Here at the Department of Health and Human Services, we are using all tools at our disposal to strengthen the Marketplace and help more people access coverage. For example, we are making improvements to the Marketplace’s risk-sharing mechanisms and eligibility rules. We are also planning a data-driven outreach campaign to get more healthy and young enrollees in this upcoming 2017 Open Enrollment. We’re also working to improve affordability and quality for all consumers, wherever they get their coverage, by rewarding health care providers for the quality of care they provide, not the quantity.
Insurers, for their part, can continue to adapt to an individual market that looks very different than it did a few short years ago. Before the ACA, issuers competed to enroll the healthiest people; today, they compete based on cost and quality in a transparent Marketplace. Some issuers are already succeeding in this new market, which requires a different approach, including more emphasis on care coordination and quality improvement to meet the needs of consumers.
If by “adapting”, Burwell means “dropping out of the marketplace altogether”, then sure. Some of the country’s largest insurers have withdrawn from exchanges nationwide because they can no longer offer competitive rates to consumers.
Obamacare’s slow motion derailment is adversely affecting every consumer that touches it, meanwhile the administration insists the cumbersome legislation has been a veritable life saver.
Hard to imagine a more tone deaf administration. Except for maybe North Korea.
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