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CBO Confirms: GOP Sabotage Is Raising Costs, Reducing Coverage

By May 24, 2018No Comments

Yesterday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report detailing the higher costs Americans are facing due to the GOP’s repeal and sabotage campaign. Among its conclusions: premiums will be going up double-digits, 5 million more Americans than originally anticipated will lose health insurance, and these negative consequences are happening because of Republicans’ actions. Here are the key takeaways:

Washington Post: “The Reality Is Republicans Leading Both Chambers And The White House Have Acted In Ways That Could Trigger The Rise Of Premiums.” “The reality is Republicans leading both chambers of Congress and the White House have acted in ways that could trigger the rise of premiums. They’ve repealed the law’s individual mandate, paving the way for healthier people to leave the marketplaces and leave sicker, more expensive patients behind. They’re working to expand leaner plans exempt from ACA coverage requirements. And they haven’t found a way to pay extra subsidies in order to defray extra plan costs for the lowest-income customers.” [Washington Post, 5/24]

CNN: Individual Mandate Repeal “Alone Will Cause Premiums To Be 10% Higher.” “Congress eliminated the penalty associated with Obamacare’s individual mandate as part of its tax reform package last year. This change alone will cause premiums to be 10% higher because fewer healthy people will buy coverage, leaving insurers with a sicker and costlier group of policyholders, the CBO projected.” [CNN, 5/23]

CNBC: “The CBO Also Projects About 5 MIllion More People” Will Be Uninsured, “Up To A Total Of 35 Million People.” “The CBO also projects about 5 million more people under the age of 65 will be uninsured in 2027 than it estimated in September, up to a total of 35 million people… Trump and congressional Republicans tried unsuccessfully to repeal the landmark health law multiple times last year. They managed to repeal the individual mandate, which required most people to have some form of health insurance or pay a tax penalty, as part of the broader tax law it passed in December. The change is slated to go into effect next year. This coupled with higher premiums will cause 3 million more people than previously forecast to be uninsured next year, CBO estimates. Between 2019 and 2028, it expects the number of uninsured people to increase to 35 million.” [CNBC, 5/23]

The Hill: “ObamaCare Premiums Are Expected To Rise An Average Of 15 Percent Next Year, An Increase Largely Due To The GOP’s Repeal Of The Individual Mandate.” “ObamaCare premiums are expected to rise an average of 15 percent next year, an increase largely due to the GOP’s repeal of the law’s individual mandate, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis released Wednesday. The CBO estimates that gutting the requirement that Americans have health insurance or face a tax penalty will contribute to about a 10 percent rise in premiums for 2019, with insurers expected to see healthier people dropping out of the marketplaces, leaving sicker enrollees on the plans.” [The Hill, 5/23]

Bloomberg: “One Reason For The Rising Premiums Is The Actions Of President Donald Trump.” “One reason for the rising premiums is the actions of President Donald Trump. Last year, Trump topped funding for the cost-sharing reduction payments made to insurers under Obamacare to help Americans afford health costs. The non-payment of those subsidies, less enforcement of a rule requiring people to have insurance and limited competition caused insurers to raise their premiums by about 34 percent in 2018, compared to 2017. That increased the cost of the subsidies to the federal government, according to the CBO.” [Bloomberg, 5/23]

Axios: “The Magnitude Of These Increases Stems Largely” From Administrative Actions. “Insurance premiums tend to go up every year, but the magnitude of these increases stems largely from the repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate, the expansion of skimpy short-term plans, and the decision last year to cut off the law’s cost-sharing payments. [Axios, 5/24]

Justine Handelman, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Vice President: “It Continues To Be Uncertain Times.” “Although the administration hasn’t teed up any new policy announcements lately, senior officials from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association told reporters yesterday that there’s still reason to be nervous.  It’s too late to help moderate premium hikes for 2019, they said, so they’re focused on 2020. They’re hoping new policies like the change in short-term plans won’t take effect until 2020, so that they won’t upend the market assumptions plans have made for next year.‘It continues to be uncertain times,’ said Justine Handelman, a BCBSA senior vice president.” [Axios, 5/24]

Kris Haltmeyer, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Vice President: “‘With the repeal of the individual mandate and the failure of Congress to enact stabilization legislation, we are expecting premiums to go up substantially,’ Haltmeyer said… Haltmeyer said the premium increases are ‘related to the loss of the mandate and then underlying medical costs.’ ‘Those two things have the most impact on the rate increases,’ he added.” [The Hill, 5/23]