The ObamaCare rate-hike disaster has hit everywhere else. Why should the state that gave us Barack Obama avoid it? New filings in the Land of Lincoln ask for premium hikes that start at 43% of 2016’s prices, and go as high as 55%. The Chicago Tribune’s Lisa Schencker opts for the glass-half-full approach in discussing it, however:
Rates could increase by an average of 44 percent for the lowest-priced bronze plans, 45 percent for the lowest-priced silver plans and 55 percent for the lowest-priced gold plans, according to a preliminary analysis released by the state Wednesday.
Here’s what those percentages mean: A 21-year-old nonsmoker buying the lowest-priced silver plan in Cook County next year could pay a premium of $221.13 a month, up from $152.42 a month this year.
In Lake and McHenry counties, that consumer could pay $268.03 a month for the lowest-priced silver plan there, compared with $212.23 a month this year.
Those numbers, however, don’t include the tax credits that 75 percent of Illinoisans on the exchange now receive to help offset the cost of premiums.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report Wednesday showing that even if insurance premiums for individual exchange plans swell by 50 percent next year, two-thirds of Illinois residents who buy insurance through the Obamacare exchange would pay $100 or less for premiums after accounting for premium tax credits.
Well, that’s true … as far as Schencker takes it. Depending on income, consumers on the exchange can get subsidies to make sure their share of the premiums do not exceed 9.5% of income. However, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the premiums go away — it just means that the rest of us have to pick up the remaining tab. And that doesn’t take into consideration the skyrocketing deductibles that leave consumers to pick up almost all of the cost of care outside of hospitalization.
It’s important to remember that ObamaCare advocates insisted that this system would not run in the red during the first ten years of the program, and would “bend the cost curve downward” in the long run. Opponents predicted spiraling premiums that would force larger and larger commitments from taxpayers to cover ObamaCare system shortfalls. The rapid increase of premiums has forced that red ink to surface even more quickly than some critics predicted.
That’s not the only miscalculation in the original ObamaCare proposal. The Medicaid expansion was sold as a way to keep costs down by allowing people to use clinics rather than emergency rooms for routine care. Mercatus Center senior research fellow Brian Blase calculates the actual usage of the expansion, and finds that new enrollees actually cost the system 49% more than Democrats predicted in 2014, the first year of the program. Last year, that amounted to $19 billion in additional costs over the original projections:
Literally nothing about this program has met its original claims, not even the claim that it would result in universal coverage. Even for those who did get covered via the mandate, the high deductibles essentially turned comprehensive care into catastrophic care while raising premiums.