Nobody should be surprised. When Trump took steps to ruin the health care system, in an all-out war against the health of Americans and the Affordable Care Act, every important voice in the debate – for example, insurers, hospitals, industry experts, medical professionals, et al – informed the ignorant president that he’d make things much worse for the American public.
There is fresh evidence that all of those warnings were right.
Two of Virginia’s ObamaCare insurers are requesting significant premium hikes for 2019, according to initial filings released Friday.
Both Cigna and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield cited policies advocated by the Trump administration, including the repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate, as part of its justifications for the increases.
When ex-HHS Secretary Tom Price told the truth by accident last week regarding the effects of the Republican agenda, this is exactly what he was talking about.
As difficult to comprehend as health care policy can be – and everyone but the president knows about how complicated it is – this is very simple. Trump did deliberate things he knew would cause health care coverage to be more expensive for tens of millions of Americans, and as a result, health care coverage is now becoming more expensive those Americans.
Chet Burrell, who is the CEO of health care company CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, admitted last week in the Washington Post that he is afraid the system is now “materially worse” under Donald Trump. He said, “Continuing actions on the part of the administration to systematically undermine the market and make it almost impossible to carry out the mission.”
In this scenario, the “mission” is to offer affordable health care coverage to the American public.
Before anyone says this is the natural outcome of an ACA model, it’s crucial to understand just how wrong that claim is. Chet Burrell then explained, “Did Obamacare work? Did the people who needed the coverage get it? Hell, yes.”
This was before Donald Trump and congressional Republicans started working– not repealing the ACA, but rather weakening the system in devious ways that put fresh financial burdens on American families for no logical reason other than partisan revenge.
The result of the hateful GOP campaign is not only seen in higher premiums; the Republican’s evil effects are also shown by the increasing uninsured rate. We began seeing some hints of this trend in January, and the health care education group, the Commonwealth Fund, strengthened the point by providing new data last week.
The stage seems to be set for serious political backlash. GOP officials, for reasons that they hardly even bother to explain, made health coverage even more expensive for millions of Americans, while imposing changes which left a growing number of citizens without coverage. If the people adversely affected all cast a ballot come November, the Republicans should have a horrible day on November 6th.
Is this likely? Perhaps. Vox’s Dylan Scott had a great article on this subject about a month ago.
Progressive operatives note that 2019 premiums are supposed to be announced in October – just a few weeks before the election. Given that last year’s premium increases were rightly attributed to Trump’s sabotage – and that voters tend to blame the party in power anyway for what is right or wrong with their health care – that could provide more ammunition for the Democrats in their final attacks right before voters head to the polls.
From special elections over the past year, we know health care has been a powerful motivator for Democratic voters. In his razor-thin win in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, Democrat Conor Lamb decisively won the health care vote. Then in this week’s Arizona special House election, Democrat Hiral Tipirneni made health care her signature issue – and, while she didn’t win, she lost to Republican Debbie Lesko by just [four] points in a district that Donald Trump won by 21. […]
Republicans can’t undo all of the damage of the past year. They have already voted for various unpopular repeal bills that would have left 20 million fewer Americans with health insurance and that would have unwound protections for people with preexisting conditions. Their Obamacare stabilization plans have now failed too.
The Republican strategy, for now, is to devalue health care as a key issue altogether, and abandon the party’s stupid annoying “repeal” strategy, and hope that voters’ attention is elsewhere.
That is a very risky bet: Gallup discovered in March that for Americans, health care access and affordability is the top concern on people’s minds. That’s not a recipe for GOP success in the fall.