Blame Democrats — not Trump — for sabotaging ObamaCare
Premiums for health insurance plans on ObamaCare’s exchanges will rise an average of 15 percent next year, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has blamed President Trump and congressional Republicans for the rate hikes – and for “deliberately sabotaging our health care system.”
Schumer is half right – ObamaCare’s insurance markets have indeed been sabotaged. But Schumer and his fellow Democrats are the saboteurs. They’re the ones who wove ObamaCare’s incoherent web of mandates, which are the real reason insurance premiums are soaring.
Progressives argue that two changes implemented by Republicans have led to the premium hikes: the elimination of ObamaCare’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies and the repeal of the individual mandate.
The cost-sharing reduction subsidies were designed to reimburse insurance companies for losses they incur because of a provision within ObamaCare that requires them to reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income enrollees. Congress never actually appropriated money for the payments. But the Obama administration made them anyway, even after a federal judge found them unconstitutional.
If Democrats are really interested in finding out who sabotaged the insurance market, they’ll have to take a look in the mirror.
President Trump stopped the cost-sharing reduction payments last fall. If they’d continued this year, insurers would have received another $10 billion in taxpayer money. ObamaCare’s proponents assert that insurers are hiking premiums to make up for that lost revenue.
The individual mandate, meanwhile, was repealed as part of the tax reform law enacted in December. The measure reduced the “tax” for going without insurance to zero, rendering the mandate moot.
ObamaCare’s defenders worry that repeal of the mandate will result in an exodus of healthy customers from the exchanges.
Starting next year, people will face no penalty for purchasing low-cost coverage that doesn’t comply with ObamaCare’s many benefit mandates, or for going without insurance altogether. If a significant number of healthy people leave, the exchanges will be left with a sicker pool of enrollees, forcing insurers to raise premiums.