July 7 2015
One News Now
According to The New York Times, health insurance companies are seeking rate increases of 20 to 40 percent or more for customers under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare.
"You hate to say, I told you so, but many people recognized early on that like other government health programs, this was going to cost more than anticipated, and it was going benefit people less than anticipated," observes Hadley Heath Manning, who studies health policy for the Independent Women's Forum.
The New York Times story explains that insurance companies are seeking rate increases after their ObamaCare customers "turned out to be sicker than expected."
The story states that federal officials are "determined to see that the requests are scaled back" - meaning the federal goverment will fight to reduce the expected increases.
How much are rates increasing? The Times story reports:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota.
Because of the way the subsidies are set up, Manning says many customers have been shielded from the cost increases and it will continue to be that way for some enrollees.
"But the question is, Where is all this money going to come from to pay for the bigger subsidies that will be needed to cover these increases in premiums?" she asks, referring to the government-funded "subsidy" payments that help ObamaCare recipients.
"Of the 10.2 million people who obtained coverage through federal and state marketplaces this year," the Times reports, "85 percent receive subsidies in the form of tax credits to help pay premiums."
Without giving specifics, Sylvia Burwell, the secretary of Health and Human Services, assured the Times that federal subsidies would "soften" the impact of any rate increases.
In recent days, President Obama has stated that he wants lawmakers to stop focusing on how to undo the Affordable Care Act and look instead at how to improve the law.
OneNewsNow asked Manning about that. She doubts there is any political solution, or a legislative solution, while President Obama is in office, citing the gap between Republican efforts and the changes Obama is willing to make.