Who Is Guilty of Massive Premium Hikes? Democrats for Enacting, or Republicans for Not Repealing ObamaCare?

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This week’s ObamaCare news roundup, curated by Jane M. Orient, M.D.

Premiums for a benchmark plan (the second-lowest cost silver plan) for a 27-year-old are doubling from $2,616 in the first year of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “ObamaCare”) to $4,932, for the plan year 2018. The average premium increase for this plan is going up 37 percent for the coming plan year. That follows a hike of 24 percent just a year ago. http://www.wnd.com/2017/11/emergency-obamacare-costs-for-27-year-old-nearly-double/

The number $2,171 is not the annual cost for a medical insurance policy, although it should be if we lived in a constitutional free market, writes Daniel Horowitz. It is the monthly bill from Blue Cross received by a person who owns a computer programming business and who is ineligible for a subsidy. It is $1,000 higher than last year. This is more than a mortgage payment with utilities! Why are Republicans focused on a tax plan that might cut middle-class taxes by $500/year while refusing to repeal ObamaCare socialism that imposes such outrageous premiums—with the option of paying up or being uninsured and paying the IRS besides? https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/hits-keep-on-coming-obamacare-premiums-rising-by-1k-per-month

ACA plans may even be more expensive than leasing a Rolls-Royce, writes Merrill Mathews. http://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/358947-when-obamacare-costs-more-than-leasing-a-rolls-royce

By its own definition of affordability (the cheapest plan available costs less than 8.16% of modified adjusted gross income), ObamaCare will be out of reach for families of three who don’t qualify for a subsidy in 94% of cities—or 47 out of 50 markets. For instance, the moment a family’s income exceeds 400% of the Federal Poverty Level ($89,000 for a family of three) their unsubsidized insurance costs can jump as high as $20,000. “This is a de facto achievement tax—work harder and face a harsh penalty,” writes Scott Flanders. Once consumers fall into this pit they would need to increase annual household income by an average of nearly 33%, which is more than 10 times the typical annual growth rate in wages, before the lowest-price ObamaCare plan available to them would meet the law’s definition of “affordable.” http://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles/2017/09/26/obamacare_is_failing_the_middle_class_110368.html

While President Trump has been accused of “sabotaging or “gutting” the ACA through executive orders, the orders have limited impact, as Trump is complying with the letter of the law, and rolling back some rules to where they were in 2016. To make a big impact, Congress really has to act, writes Avik Roy. https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2017/10/14/sorry-everbody-but-trump-hasnt-instigated-the-obamacare-apocalypse/#67aea06f7099

The idea of eliminating the tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance, once proposed by Sen. McCain, has apparently been forgotten. This subsidy is enormous and “defies every principle of fairness (whether measured vertically or horizontally) or common sense,” writes Chris Conover. It should be a key part of both tax and health care financing reform, and over the years has had bipartisan support. https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2017/07/30/why-tax-reform-should-address-incomprehensible-and-indefensible-inequities-in-health-subsidies/#49c9fc3e6250

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