When President Barack Obama jammed through his signature healthcare law, he (and his fellow Democrats) made quite a lot of promises. They included, but are not limited to:
- “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”
- “In an Obama administration, we’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.”
- “[W]hatever ideas exist in terms of bending the cost curve and starting to reduce costs for families, businesses, and government, those elements are in this bill.”
- “So this law means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.”
Of course, these promises never came to fruition. In fact, due to the debacle that is Obamacare, the very opposite occurred. This #ThrowBackThursday, we’re taking a look at how Democrats’ promises — in particular, the ones listed above — have played out in Washington State.
Without further ado:
1. It didn’t take long before Washingtonians began to lose their health care plan due to the implementation of Obama’s (Un)Affordable Care Act. Many health care exchange customers in our state quickly discovered that their doctor or neighborhood clinic would not be included in the provider list covered by the new insurance policies.
Soon after Obamacare launched, millions of people across the country, including several hundred thousand of them in Washington State, saw their insurance coverage cancelled thanks to the health care law. In an attempt to do damage control, President Obama tried to make up for his “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” lie by allowing people who liked their current health plan to keep it for another year.
But, Democrat Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler would not go along with that. Because he knows what’s best for you, Kreidler did not allow the extension.
Alas, thousands of Washingtonian who liked their insurance plans could not keep them — even for a little while longer.
2. An unbelievably far-fetched promise to begin with, Obamacare has not managed to reduce premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year. In fact, the only direction premiums seem to go is up.
Just this year, health insurance companies across the nation warned of “the financial sustainability of the ObamaCare marketplaces.” Thus, they have responded by seeking approval for premium increases next year. In at least 16 states, premiums are projected to increase by more than 20%.
Last month, health insurance companies that sell individual policies in our state announced they were seeking an increase in their rates by an average of 13.5 percent in 2017. To be exact, companies’ rate increase requests range from 9.5 percent by Group Health Cooperative to 20 percent by Premera.
Additionally, the federal penalty for having no health insurance will jump to $695 per year or 2.5 percent of taxable income (which ever is greater) in 2016. That’s a jump from $325 or 2 percent of income this year. When President Obama’s (Un)Affordable Care Act first passed, the penalty was $95 or 1 percent of income.
In other words, no one is saving $2,500 per year.
3. As established, Obamacare is not a force for “bending the cost curve” — the impacts in our state are no exception. The WHBE’s revenue stream is heavily reliant on meeting its quota for healthcare enrollees—something the exchange has failed to do.
The poor enrollment performance of Washington’s health exchange has forced it to become more reliant on the other two sources of revenue, including taxpayer dollars. That’s why, in 2015, exchange officials asked state lawmakers for a whopping $127 million for its 2015-17 budget. Citing unresolved transparency issues, GOP lawmakers earmarked $85.9 billion in the state Senate budget. Democrats were willing to handd over $124 million in the state House spending package.
In the end, the budget included $110 million in funding for the WHBE. However, even with the added funding from the state, exchange officials still faced short falls. So, as predicted, the Exchange more than doubled its carrier assessment from $4.19 to $9.78.
That led — as we have seen – to even higher premium for health care enrollees. Which, in turn, means that more people are likely to drop out of the exchange, making the financial problem even worse.
So much for “bending the cost curve.”
4. As already shown, Obamacare has not “lower costs for millions of Americans.” A major reason for that is due to a lack of choices and competition.
This year, two health insurance companies participating in our state’s exchange (Moda and United Healthcare) announced they were dropping out of the market of selling insurance to individuals and families statewide.
Simply put, insurers are losing money. With the young and healthy hedging their bets and opting to pay the Obamacare penalty rather than an insurance plan they can’t afford, exchange plans have attracted less healthy customers. The Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association concluded that members were struggling because they “gained a sicker, more expensive patient population as a result of the law.”
Of course, insurance companies pulling out of the exchange means less choice for consumers and less competition among remaining insurers. Inevitably, prices increase… for millions of Americans.
When Democrats jammed Obamacare through Congress on a straight-party line vote, then-Speaker Nancy Peolosi famously said, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.”
Well, now that we’ve found out what’s in the bill, at what point can we all agree to repeal it?