Washington, D.C – On the heels of President Trump’s widely panned and highly deceptive health care op-ed, CMS issued a similarly misleading press release in a transparent effort to conceal how the Trump Administration has raised health care costs. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

 

“Another day, another set of lies from the Trump Administration, desperate to hide the truth about how they’ve jacked up health care costs for Americans. Here’s the simple truth: People buying health insurance in America today are paying more for it than they should because of the relentless sabotage campaign by the Trump Administration and its Republican allies in Congress and the states. People who are seeing substantial premium increases are paying more than they should and the people seeing small rate decreases should be paying even less. The fact that Americans are paying more because of Trump’s sabotage when insurance companies are getting massive tax breaks and their profits and CEO salaries are soaring — and projected to skyrocket even further — is outrageous, and underscores why millions are fed up with this Republican war on health care and preparing to take this anger out at the polls.”

 

FACT: ACROSS THE BOARD, AMERICANS ARE PAYING MORE DUE TO TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S SABOTAGE CAMPAIGN

 

Brookings Analysis Estimates That Individual Market Premiums Would Decrease If Not For GOP Sabotage. Among its key findings:

  • Estimates That Average Premium Would Fall By 4.3 Percent In 2019 In Stable Policy Environment. “I estimate that the nationwide average per member per month premium in the individual market would fall by 4.3 percent in 2019 in a stable policy environment.” [Brookings Institution, 8/1/18]
  • Insurance Companies’ Revenues Will Far Exceed Their Costs In 2018. “I project that insurers’ revenues in the ACA-compliant individual market will far exceed their costs in 2018, generating a positive underwriting margin of 10.5 percent of premium revenue. This is up from a modest positive margin of 1.2 percent of premium revenue in 2017 and contrasts sharply with the substantial losses insurers incurred in the ACA-compliant market in 2014, 2015, and 2016. The estimated 2018 margin also far exceeds insurers’ margins in the pre-ACA individual market. ” [Brookings Institution, 8/1/18]
  • Absent Republican Sabotage, Average Premiums For ACA-Compliant Plans Would Likely Fall In 2019. “In this analysis, I define a stable policy environment as one in which the federal policies toward the individual market in effect for 2018 remain in effect for 3 2019. Notably, this scenario assumes that the individual mandate remains in effect for 2019, but also assumes that policies implemented prior to 2018, like the end of CSR payments, remain in effect as well. Under those circumstances, insurers’ costs would rise only moderately in 2019, primarily reflecting normal growth in medical costs.” [Brookings Institution, 8/1/18]

American Academy of Actuaries Point To Trump Administration Sabotage As Drivers Of 2019 Premium Increases. “Key drivers of 2019 premium changes include…Recent legislative and regulatory changes, including the elimination of the individual mandate penalty, the pending expanded availability of short-term limited duration plans and association health plans, and whether changes are made regarding how insurers are instructed to load premiums to account for cost-sharing reduction subsidies.” [American Academy of Actuaries, 6/13/18]

 

American Enterprise Institute Says Deregulating the Individual Market will not Lower Overall Health Costs. “When these proposed rules are made final, which is likely to occur in the coming months, many middle-class consumers will be able to exit the ACA-regulated markets for less expensive options. But overall costs will not decline. Insurers will simply shift higher premiums onto those who remain in the current market, which in turn will mean the federal government will pay higher subsidies for those eligible for premium assistance.” [American Enterprise Institute, 4/26/18]

 

FACT: TRUMP CAN’T TAKE CREDIT FOR STABILIZATION THAT WAS HAPPENING BEFORE HE CAME INTO OFFICE — AND ON A BETTER TRACK BEFORE HIS REPEAL-AND-SABOTAGE CAMPAIGN

 

Larry Levitt, SVP for Health Reform at Kaiser Family Foundation: Before Republican Sabotage, The Individual Marketplaces Were Stabilizing. “With insurers now mostly profitable in the ACA individual insurance market, I would have expected single-digit premium increases for 2019 reflecting health-cost growth…With repeal of the individual mandate and expansion of short-term plans, double-digit hikes are now likely.” [Rampell, Washington Post, 5/14/18]

  • Larry Levitt, SVP for Health Reform at Kaiser Family Foundation: If Not For Republican Sabotage, Premium Increases Would Be Modest.If not for actions by Congress and the Trump administration, we’d be looking at very modest premium increases for next year.” [Larry Levitt, 5/17/18]

Analysis By The Kaiser Family Foundation Confirms what Experts Have Been Saying For Months, Before Sabotage Took Affect, The Individual Market Was Stabilizing. “Annual results from 2017 suggest the individual market was stabilizing and insurers in this market were regaining profitability. Insurer financial results through 2017 – after the Administration’s decision to stop making cost-sharing subsidy payments and before the repeal of the individual mandate penalty in the tax overhaul goes into effect – showed no sign of a market collapse.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 5/17/18]

Kaiser Family Foundation: “Absent any policy changes, it is likely that insurers would generally have required only modest premium increases in 2018 and in 2019 as well.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 5/17/18]

Between 2016 and 2017, Premiums Increased At A Much Faster Pace Than Claims Did. “Driving recent improvements in individual market insurer financial performance are the premium increases in 2017 and simultaneous slow growth in claims for medical expenses. On average, premiums per enrollee grew 22% from 2016 to 2017, while per person claims grew only 5%.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 5/17/18]

 

FACT: CMS IS CHERRY PICKING. THEY IGNORE GIANT RATE INCREASES AND ONLY CITE THE AVERAGE OF SILVER PLANS BECAUSE, OVERALL, PLANS ARE GOING UP BY AN AVERAGE OF THREE PERCENT THIS YEAR (ON TOP OF 30 PERCENT INCREASES LAST YEAR)

In citing the decrease that some Tennesseans will experience next year, CMS completely neglects to mention that other Tennesseans will see increases as high as 10.84 percent on top of last year’s 36 and 21 percent rate hikes. Health insurance experts and analysts blame GOP sabotage.

 

Charles Gaba, Health Care Analyst: Tennessee Premiums Would Have Dropped By 23 Percent If Not For GOP Sabotage. “Regardless, the net effect of all this is that Tennessee premiums are now expected to drop by around 11.1% overall instead of 5.7%…but they still would have dropped even further (around 23% by my estimates) if not for ACA sabotage factors.” [ACASignups, 8/22/18]

Julie Mix McPeak, President of National Association of Insurance Commissioners and TN Insurance Commissioner: GOP Sabotage Could Raise Premiums Yet Again For Next Year. “Obamacare premiums for 2019 would go up 5 percent to 10 percent on top of rate increases that were previously expected because of uncertainty raised by the Trump administration’s suspension of payments among insurers to cover sick enrollees. That is what Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak told me in an interview about the impact of the Department of Health and Human Services’ July 7 announcement that it was suspending $10.4 billion in transfer payments among insurers due to a ruling in February by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.” [Bloomberg Law, 7/20/18]

 

FACT: ON HIS FIRST DAY IN OFFICE, PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER DIRECTING THE ADMINISTRATION TO IDENTIFY EVERY WAY IT CAN UNRAVEL THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

 

…and he’s been sabotaging our health care each day since.