Early projections from insurance companies participating in Affordable Care Act (ACA) low cost insurance programs show steep rate hikes on the horizon. The Democratic Party intends to make certain voters understand who caused those impending rate increases: Donald Trump and the Republican Party.
One insurer, participating in the program commonly referred to as Obamacare, proposed increasing their rates up to 91 percent. The monthly premium for a 40 year old could be as high as $1,334.
“When those rates go up, coverage goes down,” Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York told reporters Tuesday.
It’s important to remember, President Trump and congressional Republicans are fully responsible for the significantly higher premiums and millions fewer people insured.”
As of Spring 2017, rates in Obamacare began to stabilize. But Republicans and new president, Donald Trump, made clear their plan to sabotage and undermine the ACA after their many attempts to repeal the law failed.
Trump announced his administration’s halt of cost-sharing reductions to insurers and drastic budget cuts for Obamacare outreach. Then the GOP repealed the individual mandate which required every American have health insurance or pay a tax penalty as part of their GOP tax plan.
According to Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic consultant working with groups supporting Obamacare, most people talk about "the health care repeal and the Trump tax plan as two different issues."
The voters see them as ways Washington isn't looking out for them.... On both of them, it's basically the same: they (Republicans) have been giving tax breaks to health insurance companies, to pharmaceutical companies and those come at the expense of people who work for a living. It means higher health care costs, eventually higher taxes, more debt for your kids, and cuts to Social Security and Medicare as you get older."
Now Congressional Democrats hope to make that connection clearer and they're using the words of a former member of the Trump administration to do it. On May 1, former Trump Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, stated:
(Republican healthcare policies will) Harm the pool in the exchange market because you'll likely have individuals who are younger and healthier not participating in that market, and consequently that drives up the cost for other folks in that market."
Former Secretary Price relayed the basic concept of an insurance industry driven healthcare system. The more people who don't file claims, the more profitable the insurance company is, the less expensive insurance premiums can be.
Because of a GOP authored, Trump endorsed tax plan removing the individual health insurance requirement, the people least likely to need expensive medical services do not buy health insurance. To maintain their profit margins, insurance companies raise rates for everyone that enrolled in a health insurance plan.
Additionally, those same insurance companies and medical service companies received major tax breaks under the GOP/Trump tax plan. They could choose to pass those benefits on to working class consumers.
To sell voters on their tax plan, the White House and GOP promised their major tax breaks to big corporations would ultimately benefit the working class. Based on early projections on new insurance rates, it seems to once again not be the case.
Insurance companies have between May 1 and July 31 to submit their proposed rates to state regulators and until September to let the federal government know if they’re participating in Obamacare. Final rates come out around October, right before the November midterm elections.
“We Democrats are going to be relentless in making sure the American people exactly understand who is to blame for the (higher) rates,” Schumer said at the press conference.
Republicans control the House, the Senate, the presidency,” he added. “The rates go up, especially after all their actions, it's on their back and they know it.”
Health care already proved to be a motivator in turning out voters in special elections in Pennsylvania and Arizona. Democrats prevailed in Pennsylvania and significantly closed the gap in Republican held Arizona.
Democratic hopes of retaking the House, the Senate or both could depend on getting voters across the nation to link the Republican tax bill with the GOP's efforts, in that bill and elsewhere, to undermine their access to affordable health care. They must convince the working class that Republicans helped the wealthy and burdened the middle class with their major legislative priorities of the past 17 months: a large tax cut and undermining Obamacare.