On Monday, the Obama administration announced that premiums in Obamacare’s insurance exchanges would increase by an average of 22% in 2017. That’s far worse than what many observers had expected. But the biggest surprise hasn’t been Obamacare’s rate hikes. It has been the implausible excuses the President and his cheerleaders have floated to deflect blame for unaffordable coverage.
2017 isn’t the first year to see Obamacare rate hikes. The most profound hikes took place in 2014, Obamacare’s first year, when the health law’s thicket of insurance regulations drove up the cost of coverage by an average of 49%. Premiums for Obamacare “silver” plans went up by 7 and 11% in 2015 and 2016, according to McKinsey & Co. Add onto that the reported 22% increase in 2017, and you have a cumulative increase of 116%: more than double the pre-Obamacare rate.
As a result of these high premiums, far fewer people are enrolling in Obamacare’s exchanges than the government predicted in 2010 when the law was passed. Back then, the Congressional Budget Office predicted 21 million Americans would be enrolled in ACA exchange plans by 2016. Instead, it was 12 million.