Friday, 28 October 2016 10:39

Obamacare premium hikes perfect storm for elections; but no perfect solutions

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freedom 3Bad news for President Barack Obama, democrats, Hillary Clinton hit this week and at the wrong moment, two weeks prior to election day.

The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare premiums were going to skyrocket by roughly 25% this year.  Not the type of news any candidate or administration would want as the autumn days turn colder and the focus upon presidential and Congressional elections grow longer.

What does the news mean?  How did the terrible premium hikes, that will impact many, take place?  Was this foreseeable?  What are the solutions?  What does repeal and replace Obamacare mean and is it really possible?

Many in Congress have been promising repealing Obamacare on the first day after a possible Donald Trump presidential victory and republican congressional win.  Ok.  But, can it really be done?  If so, what are the risks?

What are the healthcare policies of Trump and Hillary Clinton?  Are they workable?

These were the questions I had in mind when engaged in a Facebook interview with Jason Pye, Communications Director of the conservative Freedom Works organization.  Freedom Works advocates for issues and certain candidates. It does not formally support any presidential candidate. 

Towards the end of the video conversation, we discussed one of the issues that have been bothering me now for a couple of years that has not been addressed nor discussed.  It is my position that the Congress and the President cannot simply and suddenly repeal Obamacare and replace it immediately after it is repealed.  That would be an almost impossible task.  I have written that repealing the law could terminate many of the insurance policies that are in place and those calling for the immediate “repeal and replacing of Obamacare” are engaging in political nonsense.  It cannot be done immediately and suddenly.  My other major concern is the issue of pre-existing conditions coverage and whether there is any mechanism to ensure this type of coverage with a purely private sector approach since so many insurers have fought against providing pre-existing conditions coverage in the past.

Below are some of the highpoints in my interview with Pye: 

FreedomWorks considers itself as the "activists arm of the freedom movement".  It trains, educates and mobilizes a grassroots army of about 5.7 million activists on issues related to limit government, free markets, and personal freedom.

It supports Rep. Mike Johnson and John Fleming for congress and for US Senate, respectively. 

There are some house conservatives who are calling for a delay in the House Speaker will be.  The Freedom Works organization favors a go-slow approach, to " see where the republican party is going to be and that's what the grassroots activists across the country conservative grassroots activist want is a republican party that's going to reflect their values and views”.

 The Affordable Care Act is not very affordable announcing on average twenty-five percent premium increases across the country in some states is definitely higher and in some states, a little bit lower, but overall “we're seeing 25-percent premium increases for Obamacare “ this is “exactly what conservatives and libertarians warned about when this bill was being crafted and debated in Congress as well as before the exchanges opened up”.

We now have the original Obamacare cooperatives which were supposedly the "liberal answer" to not having a public option.  They've lost billions of dollars of taxpayer money.  We've seen three major health insurers including Aetna and United Healthcare scale down.  They're involved in Obamacare and withdrew from all but two states.

The reason is because there's a higher utilization of healthcare than they expected given the makeup of the population.  The Obamacare risk pools in certain states are older and sicker, older and sicker than expected.  Not enough young people are signing up.

One insurance company lost something up around seven hundred million dollars so those are unsustainable losses and you can't keep having those kinds of losses because if you do keep having this kind of losses you have to raise up insurance premiums even higher.

Young people, Millennials, are not signing up.  The young “Invincibles” as they've been called.   They “don’t believe they need insurance necessarily because they're young and “invincible” at least their minds they are.  They are not signing up for it.”  It is  a perfect storm for Obamacare and it's happening right before an election happens.

 Arizona is going to see health insurance premium increases by a more than a hundred percent.  Georgia will seal difference premium increases by about fifteen percent.

Some of these states that bypassed Medicaid expansion early on are seriously considering doing this again.  “Medicaid is not the best program in the world it may provide access to care but it doesn't necessarily provide quality of care and the reason it isn't quality of care is because that there are a lot of doctors who do not participate Medicaid because the payouts are too small”

 Trump's position on healthcare that he's rolled out initially was positive.  It echoes a lot of things we believe such as portability and buying health insurance through state lines things like that but you know we need a comprehensive alternative and you really this right at this moment right now is a key time that you can be going out talking about it when the exchanges I think just next week we'll be opening up for business of just before the election he really hammers home”.

These premium increases will be hitting Americans where it hurts and their wallets actually a time where economic growth is still relatively low anemic one-point-four percent.

“One thing I've seen a lot of talk about in the last several weeks is the talk about the public option that which is a single-payer healthcare program that some Senate Democrats including Senator Bernie Sanders would like to pursue now.  


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