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The American Independent

Trump spitefully jacks up health care costs after repeal failure

Politically, the Republican Party’s mangled attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare continues to rattle key players, with Donald Trump on Wednesday lashing out at GOP congressional leaders for failing to get the job done. But more importantly, Trump’s incompetence, and now inaction, regarding health care is spiking premium costs. Bewildered insurance companies are looking to […]

By Eric Boehlert - August 10, 2017
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Donald Trump

Politically, the Republican Party’s mangled attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare continues to rattle key players, with Donald Trump on Wednesday lashing out at GOP congressional leaders for failing to get the job done.

But more importantly, Trump’s incompetence, and now inaction, regarding health care is spiking premium costs. Bewildered insurance companies are looking to the administration for clues as to how to move forward in the wake of the repeal’s defeat. Not detecting any clear signals, they’re passing that confusion onto consumers in the form of double-digit increases.

New research from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that contradictory and confusing rhetoric from the White House regarding Obamacare is “leading insurers to seek higher premium increases for 2018 than would otherwise have been the case,” according to the Associated Press.

“In many cases, what we are seeing is an additional increase due to the political uncertainty,” said Cynthia Cox, a co-author of the Kaiser report.

In a fit of anger last month, Trump threatened to cancel key Obamacare payments to insurers as part of a plan to sabotage the law and let it “implode.”

The administration has since backed off that doomsday rhetoric, but has not replaced it with any concrete guidance for states and insurance companies going forward. That’s creating rampant uncertainty, which is driving up costs for consumers.

For instance, the next sign-up period for enrolling in Obamacare begins Nov. 1. In the past, the Obama administration aggressively marketed those periods with ad campaigns in order to boost enrollments numbers. But the Trump administration has canceled some of those advertisements, with the implication being it wants fewer people to sign up.

And then there’s the issue of cost-sharing reductions, which Trump has threatened to cut off. Those are the payments the government provides to cover the costs for low-income Obamacare enrollees. If Trump cuts off those payments, insurance companies would have to drastically raise their premiums.

As The Hill reported, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina proposed a 22.9 percent premium increase for next year. But the company says it would have proposed only an 8.8 percent increase if it knew whether hose government co-payments were set to continue.

For now, the administration has embraced inaction, despite its open disdain for Obamacare. The crossed signals may stem from the fact that polls show a majority of Americans say Trump and Republicans are responsible for any problems Obamacare encounters moving forward.


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