As premiums continue to rise, Obamacare continues to decrease in popularity. On July 2, the Washington Examiner reported that “Of the 11.8 million people who signed up for Obamacare during open enrollment that ended in December 2017, 10.6 million paid their first premium as of March 15,” which is a “decrease of 9 percent.” The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said this trend will continue into 2018 as consumers struggle to pay premiums.
Doug Badger, a fellow at The Heritage Foundation, noted in a column at The Daily Signal that the Congressional Budget Office expects premiums to increase “an average of 15 percent” in 2019. Badger worked on a study that reviewed dozens of analyses of how Obamacare regulations raised premiums, and found that the increases were due to federal insurance mandates and a flawed subsidy system. The combination of issues created older and less healthy insurance pools, thus insurers have had to raise prices exorbitantly.
Popular Obamacare insurance access requirements were also to blame, but at least “half the increases” due to such regulations could be addressed if “Congress removed certain Obamacare mandates.” Heritage found that the single risk pool requirement, the essential health benefits mandate, overcharging young adults, and the mandate that individual policies provide a minimum actuarial value of 60 percent, all combine to create artificially high premiums. Badger added that if Congress were to exempt states from these mandates and replace them with a proposal created by a group of conservative organizations, premiums would be reduced and health care choices would be expanded. Liberals like to cite polls that show voters do not favor repealing pre-existing condition provisions and other mandates, however these polls rarely ask voters if they would rather repeal Obamacare.
During the week of July 22, according to The Hill, the House plans to vote on some GOP bills that “include measures expanding health savings accounts”, and “a repeal of ObamaCare’s medical device tax and a delay of the health insurance tax.” Joe Antos of the American Enterprise Institute criticized the bills for suggesting “little adjustments” that will likely not be enough to lower premiums.