Donald Trump has seized on reports of an increase in the average Obamacare premium, hoping to derive political advantage by attacking the law. But Trump has no command of the facts.
At a rally in Sanford, FL, Donald Trump once again attacked Hillary Clinton and President Obama over the Affordable Care Act. He specifically referenced reports of double-digit premium increases, in order to garner support for repealing the law from voters worried about their own health care costs.
As with so many subjects, Trump played fast and loose with the facts.
The average increase being reported is 22%, but that figure does not take the subsidies into account, which will allow 77% of Obamacare customers to find a plan for $100 a month or less. It also obscures the fact that 20 million people gained insurance as a result of the ACA. Since 80% of the population gets health insurance through their employer, that leaves a sliver of the population facing higher premiums, which are still in line with what the Congressional Budget Office predicted from the beginning.
Obamacare has some flaws, but these were caused by Republican attempts to sabotage the law. Premiums on the exchanges would have been lower if Republican senators had not defeated the public option. Millions of people would have been able to get coverage through Medicaid, and more affordably on the exchanges, if Republican governors hadn’t refused federal expansion money out of spite. There would have been more competition in the exchanges if the risk corridors had been fully funded, which Senator Marco Rubio went out of his way to block.
Hillary Clinton’s reform proposals strengthen Obamacare instead of gutting it. She proposes a public option in states without competition, while also cutting co-pays for preventive care, lowering drug prices, and strengthening the insurance risk pool by allowing immigrants to purchase policies through the exchanges. For families who earn too much for premium subsidies, Clinton wants to cap their premiums at no more than 8.5 percent of their income.
It is helpful to remember that Social Security and Medicare were, at first, incomplete programs that were steadily improved by Congress. Clinton has clearly listened to consumer complaints about Obamacare coverage, and offers a solid plan to address them. Give her a Democratic Congress to work with, and those fixes come sooner rather than later.
(Matthew Chapman, Tommy Christopher, and Susan Madrak contributed to this report.)