Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner explains that the twin headliners of the disgraceful Veterans Affairs scandal and the Taliban prisoner swap for Sgt. Bergdahl were actually a welcome relief to congressional democrats. Thanks to Obamacare, most of the major health-care insurers are calling for double-digit rate increases next year. And because there have been so many changes, postponements and waivers to the law, the CBO can no longer accurately estimate the cost of O’Care on the deficit. As Mr. Tanner warns, “And the news just keeps getting worse.”
There was also bad news from the Congressional Budget Office, which announced that, in part because there had been so many changes, postponements, and waivers to the law, they could no longer provide an accurate estimate of its cost or impact on the deficit.
Of course, maybe that is honest Washington budgeting for a change. We have a great big program that’s going to spend a lot of money, but we really don’t have any idea how much. Happy days are here again.
Perhaps the worst news is coming from states where next year’s insurance premiums have already been announced. This will undoubtedly come as a big shock to anyone who hasn’t been paying attention, but the premiums are going up. A handful of small and niche insurers are requesting smaller increases, and a few have lowered rates, news eagerly seized upon by Obamacare supporters. But, in reality, most of the major insurers are calling for double-digit increases next year.
In Maryland, for example, CareFirst, the state’s dominant insurer, is proposing premium hikes of 23 to 30 percent for consumers buying individual plans next year. In Vermont, MVP Health Care has requested an average rate increase of 15.4 percent, while the only other insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, requested average hikes of 9.8 percent. The Ohio Department of Insurance reports that average premiums will increase by 13 percent for individual plans and 11 percent for small-business plans next year. In Virginia, insurers are seeking rate increases ranging from 3.3 percent to 14.9 percent in the individual market, while in Arizona, Cigna asked for average premium hikes of 14.4 percent and Humana requested a 25.5 percent increase. Some insurers in Washington State are seeking hikes as high as 26 percent.
Apparently we will have to wait a little longer for that $2,500 premium reduction that the president once promised.