Trump and Republicans are fanning Obamacare fears over rising health insurance rates of 25%. According to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, “thanks to financial assistance, most marketplace consumers this year will find plan options with premiums between $50 and $100 per month.” What Trump and Republicans aren’t telling you is that with subsidies, many consumers will see no net increase in insurance costs in 2017.
Example: In 2017 for a Silver Plan on the Exchange, a 40 year old single male, non-smoker, making $30,000 per year, living in Cedar Rapids, will see no net increase in costs after the Obamacare subsidy is included.
2016 monthly premium $284, net cost after subsidy $208
2017 monthly premium $301, net cost after subsidy $208
His premium will increase by 6%, but he will pay no more in net cost after he receives his subsidy. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, health care net costs for many consumers won’t rise at all once their subsidies are included. The 25% increase only applies to premiums. It doesn’t reflect what consumers will actually end up paying after their subsidies are subtracted. In some states, consumers will actually see a net decrease in premium costs.
It’s obvious Trump doesn’t even understand who Obamacare Exchanges cover. Yesterday at a campaign event from his Doral Golf Course he said, “And I can say all of my employees are having a tremendous problems with Obamacare…You look at what they’re going through with their health care is horrible because of Obamacare.”
Moments later, apparently after the Resort Manager informed him the resort employees are covered by Trumps employer policies, Trump appeared to contradict himself, stating that his employees don’t have to deal with Obamacare exchanges because his corporation provides them with health care coverage.
In a phone interview with FOX news following the golf course remarks he said, “I don’t much use Obamacare, I must be honest with you, because it is so bad for the people and they can’t afford it.”
Trump doesn’t have a clue about how Obamacare works or who it covers!
Note that insurance costs are going up for consumers that get their insurance from their employers as well. Industry sources are predicting employees will see their cost of premiums rise by 5% in 2017. These employees don’t get any subsidies, so they may end up with bigger increases than those that get their insurance from the Obamacare Exchanges. Hillary Clinton has proposed changes that will help all consumers by adding a public option.
Over 20 million more Americans have affordable health care thanks to Obamacare. Remember before Obamacare, many consumers couldn’t buy any health care insurance available due to pre-existing conditions. Many of those same consumers couldn’t afford any health care insurance if it was available prior to the Obamacare subsidy program. Everyone with college age children have benefited from Obamacare with the extension of coverage to age 26.
For 2017 Iowans will have four different companies to shop and compare among: Aetna, Gunderson, Medica and Wellmark. Wellmark which is the largest health insurance carrier in Iowa, is new to the exchange for 2017. In March, at the end of the 2016 enrollment period, 48,949 Iowans had signed up for Obamacare. That was a 25% increase from 2015. With Wellmark joining in 2017, many of their customers will now have subsides available to them for the first time. Wellmark has over 100,000 individual policy holders that may choose to enter the Exchange and lower their costs with subsides in 2017.
Each company offers as many as 10 plans to choose from. With four companies participating, Iowans will have many plans to compare and select the best for their families. Across the country consumers have an average of 30 plans to compare and shop among. In several states consumers will be limited to one company on the Obamacare exchanges. However, they will still have an average of 10 different plans from which to choose.
Trump and Republicans are claiming Obamacare is failing, but Health and Human Services are predicting an additional 1.1 million more people will sign up for Obamacare in 2017. That sure doesn’t sound like a failure. Even with premium increases in 2017, Obamacare subsides will continue to keep healthcare affordable for most people on the exchange.
Trump and the Republicans will continue to misrepresent Obamacare for political gain. No doubt they will continue to call for it’s repeal yet offer no alternatives. Obviously, this is simply more mindless obstruction that is meant to confuse, divide and create more gridlock.
Democrats recognize that Obamacare isn’t perfect. Health care costs are continuing to rise and many consumers are struggling to pay insurance premiums. Many have high deductibles and too much out-of-pocket costs. However, private insurance companies have a monopoly on health insurance. They set the rates and determine premium costs, not Obamacare. The only way to increase competition is a public option.
Hillary Clinton has proposed a public health insurance option and the expansion of Medicare to cover more Americans. That will add competition and extend affordable insurance options to many more Americans. Democrats have not only assisted 20 million Americans in obtaining health insurance, they are offering a solution to lower costs and expand coverage. Trump and the Republicans offer only more obstruction and misrepresentation.
If you want to safeguard the 20 million people Obamacare has helped and fix our broken health care system, there’s only one choice. Vote for Democrats up and down ballot.
by Rick Smith
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