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The Latest Victims of GOP Sabotage: Mainers, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, Washingtonians

By June 5, 2018No Comments

Today, Mainers and Pennsylvanians became the latest Americans to see skyrocketing proposed 2019 individual marketplace premiums due to Washington Republicans’ ongoing sabotage, joining New Yorkers and Washingtonians, whose proposed double-digit rate increases were announced yesterday. As the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans continue their repeal and sabotage campaign, Americans from coast to coast will continue to bear the unnecessary costs. Here’s how these rate hikes have been covered:

Portland Press-Herald: “Reasons Provided By The Insurers For Their Proposed Rate Increases Include The Elimination Of The Individual Mandate.” “Reasons provided by the insurers for their proposed rate increases include the elimination of the individual mandate penalty that was included in the federal tax reform bill approved by congressional Republicans in December and a resulting, anticipated decrease in younger, healthier Mainers purchasing individual ACA insurance in 2019.” [Portland Press-Herald, 6/5]

Ann Woloson, Consumers For Affordable Health Care Executive Director: “Efforts At The Federal Level To Sort Of Sabotage The Affordable Care Act Are Resulting In Unnecessary Increases.” The executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care, Ann Woloson, says any increase is bad news. ‘We’re already paying a lot. So the efforts at the federal level to sort of sabotage the Affordable Care Act are resulting in unnecessary increases for individuals and small businesses, and that’s a problem.’ Woloson says the Trump administration’s elimination of the individual mandate and support of short term plans that offer less coverage are driving the proposed increases.  The elimination of the individual mandate goes into effect in 2019. [Health policy consultant Mitchell Stein] says the proposed premium increases reflect the potential loss of consumers in the ACA marketplace.” [Maine Public, 6/5]

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “The Department Cited Federal Government Decisions To Shorten [Open Enrollment] And To Eliminate [The Individual Mandate]” As Factors Driving Up Premiums. “The department cited federal government decisions to shorten the period of time in which people can sign up for the plans and to eliminate the requirement in 2019 that everyone have health insurance. It also cited President Donald Trump’s decision last year to eliminate federal funding for added benefits that had been included in plans for the lowest-income policyholders. The department cited that change last year when it approved an average rate increase of 30 percent for the plans. Increases averaged about 33 percent the year before that.” [TribLive, 6/5]

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Efforts To Weaken The Affordable Care Act In The Past Year Have Included Ending Cost-sharing Reductions For Premiums, Shortening The Enrollment Period And Ending The Mandate That Everyone Have Health Insurance.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/5]

The Hill: “New York Attributed The Proposed Increase To Congress’s Repeal Of The Individual Mandate, While Washington State Blamed Uncertainty Over The Trump Administration’s Looming Changes To ObamaCare.” “ObamaCare insurers in New York and Washington state are proposing double-digit rate hikes for 2019, citing recent and upcoming changes to the law. In New York, 14 insurers are asking state regulators to approve an average rate hike of 24 percent, while 11 insurers in Washington state want to increase premiums by an average of 19.08 percent. New York attributed the proposed increases to Congress’s repeal of the individual mandate, while Washington state blamed uncertainty over the Trump administration’s looming changes to ObamaCare.” [The Hill, 6/4]

Maria Vullo, New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent: “Insurers Have Attributed Approximately Half Of Their Requested Increases” To Repeal Of The Individual Mandate. “‘Insurers have attributed approximately half of their requested rate increases to the risks they see resulting from (the) repeal,’ said Maria Vullo, superintendent of the state Department of Financial Services, which published the requests Friday. ‘Without the federal action, the average requested rate increase would be 12.1 percent.’” [Albany Times-Union, 6/4]

New York Post: Insurers Are “Blaming President Trump’s Repeal Of The Mandate” For Increases. “New York health insurers are requesting an average 24 percent hike to sell individual policies in 2019 under ObamaCare and they’re blaming President Trump’s repeal of the mandate requiring everyone have health care coverage as contributing to the increase… ‘The individual mandate, a key component of the Affordable Care Act, helped mitigate against dramatic price increases by ensuring healthier insurance pools. Insurers have attributed approximately half of their requested rate increases to the risks they see resulting from its repeal,’ said state Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo.” [New York Post, 6/4]

Albany Times-Union: “Most Of New York’s Health Insurers Are Looking To Raise Premiums On The Individual Market Next Year, An Increase They Say Is Necessary Now That Republicans In Congress Have Repealed The Affordable Care Act’s Individual Mandate.”  “Most of New York’s health insurers are looking to raise premiums on the individual market next year, an increase they say is necessary now that Republicans in Congress have repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate… Fidelis Care is seeking the largest rate increase on the individual market. The Capital Region’s most popular health plan is seeking state approval to raise premiums 38.6 percent next year. If the individual mandate were to remain in place, it says, its requested increase would be much smaller — at just 12.7 percent. Other plans that are popular in the Capital Region are also looking to raise premiums. Schenectady-based MVP Health Plan, for example, wants to raise premiums for people who don’t get insurance through their employer by 6.5 percent. At least 4.7 percent of that increase is due to the individual mandate repeal, they said. On the small group market, MVP is seeking a 7 percent premium increase.”  [Albany Times-Union, 6/4]

Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler: “There’s Still A Great Deal Of Uncertainty,” Which Is “Fueled By The Trump Administration’s Efforts To Undermine The Affordable Care Act.” “‘There’s still a great deal of uncertainty in individual markets across the country, fueled by the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act,’ he said, using the formal name for Obamacare. ‘Instead of getting behind solutions that shore up these markets, the administration seems solely focused on undermining our health insurance system and the individuals and families who need to buy their coverage in the individual market.’” [Washington Examiner, 6/4]

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Bipartisan Senators “Had Hearings On Turmoil In Insurance Markets, And Proposed A Plan To Shore Up Markets. They Could Not Get A Senate Floor Vote On The Plan.” “The administration, and Republican leaders in Congress, make repeal of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, a top priority. At one point, GOP repeal efforts in the U.S. Senate were blocked by a single vote, that of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The bipartisan Senate Health Education Labor & Pensions Committee team of Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., held hearings on turmoil in insurance markets, and proposed a plan to shore up markets. They could not get a Senate floor vote on the plan, or action in the House of Representatives.” [Post-Intelligencer, 6/4]