Republicans deliberately damaged Obamacare, and now consumers have to pay the price.
In one of the first examples of how Republican efforts in 2017 to sabotage Obamacare are translating into sky-high premiums for consumers, two of the largest insurance providers in Virginia are requesting major increases to their premiums.
Insurers are blaming Trump and Congressional Republicans for the spikes because they gutted the individual mandates from Obamacare, which in turn mean more sick people entering the marketplace.
Cigna is proposing an average premium increase of 15 percent for its 103,264 customers in Virginia, while CareFirst is proposing a 64 percent increase for its 4,500 customers in the commonwealth.
The rate increases requested on Friday are not necessarily what Virginia officials will approve.
"Cigna said it anticipates sicker people will be entering the market this year because of the repeal of the individual mandate, which required people to buy insurance or face a tax penalty," the Hill reported. "The insurer also cited aanticipated changes to regulations' involving short-term plans and association health plans as the reason for the premium increases."
Virginia Democrats were quick to denounce the premiums spikes as the direct and obvious effects of the GOP's relentless campaign to make health care more expensive for Americans:
Trump health Secretary Tom Price *predicted* that this would happen, but he and other Republican leaders still took actions that will drive up premiums anyway.
Sabotage of the worst kind, which will hit average people in Virginia hard.
And it won’t just be in Virginia either. https://t.co/dowJUBNy2P
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) May 6, 2018
"Let’s be clear what this is: a painful consequence of the Trump Administration’s efforts to sabotage the health insurance market and dismantle the Affordable Care Act," Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said in a statement on Facebook.
Electorally, this could all come back to haunt Republicans in November. As the midterm cycle heats up, polls show that health care is the most important issue for voters as they prepare to vote. And that's good news for Democrats, who are seen as the party of the people when it comes to helping to provide affordable care.
That's in part because Obamacare just gets more and more popular with voters.
"For the first election cycle since its passage, a majority of the public now approves of President Obama’s signature health care law, and Democrats enjoy a sizable advantage over the GOP on handling related issues," Huffington Post reported last month.
Rising health care costs and and an unpopular tax bill, that's what the GOP's running on this year.