Will Obamacare be the “October surprise” Donald Trump needs to swing the election in his favor? Democrats are increasingly acknowledging that the Affordable Care Act has an affordability problem. That means big trouble for Hillary Clinton who tried her own version of “Hillarycare” back in 1994 with disastrous results.
The dire situation has become so bad that even President Obama said in a speech last week that “there are going to be people who are hurt by premium increases.” This is the man that vaunted the health care law as affordable and good for all Americans.
What is the conga line Democrat excuse? To a T, they have made the unreasonable and fiscally irresponsible argument that Obamacare is working well for most people. The problem of rising premiums is specifically focused on a minority of consumers who earn too much money to qualify for federal subsidies. Huh?
Hillary has chimed in saying the system “works fine.” That would be defined as the people who get government subsidies that afford them coverage. Yet the problems with the law are leaving Democrats exposed to GOP attacks.
And what is the Republican response to a law they unanimously voted against in 2010? For months they have been saying in unison that premium increases this year, which are on average about 25 percent for a benchmark plan, will force an end to the landmark law.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump seized on some of the admissions by Democrats at a rally in Cleveland on Saturday. He told the massive crowd gathered, “Just this month, the Democratic governor of Minnesota admitted the reality is the Affordable Care Act, he said, is no longer affordable,” Trump said. “He said that. And you probably saw last week, Bill Clinton called Obamacare the craziest thing in the world.”
Democrats are quick to point out that 85 percent of Obamacare enrollees receive financial help that it cushions people by increasing along with any premium increases.
That is a flagrant lie, but I digress.
The truth is it is the other 15 percent, about 1.6 million people, who do not receive financial help, where Democrats are forced to admit there is a problem. Really? There are also about 7 million people with individual coverage outside of the law’s marketplaces who are fully exposed to premium increases. These are increases that will force them into plain catastrophic insurance, and nothing more, or no health insurance at all.
Those are the same people who in 2010, prior to the passage of this failed experiment wee covered by their company or own plan. Now the heat will turn like thunder on Hillary Clinton who has said many times that she will follow the policies of Barack Obama and carry the torch.
Well, the torch has been extinguished and the Democratic nominee is grasping desperately to straws. She claims that by repealing Obamacare, Republicans would be taking away coverage for the 20 million people who gained insurance under the law. It would do away with protections like preventing insurance companies from denying people coverage because they are sick, which meant that in the past some people could not get coverage at any price.
What is Hillary’s solution? More government intervention with more taxpayer money to prop up a failed law. Both Clinton and Obama have proposed increasing the financial assistance available under Obamacare so that it could be available to people who do not currently qualify. Want more? Clinton wants to provide a new tax credit of up to $5,000 to help people pay for premium costs as well as out-of-pocket costs like deductibles, which can also be a major problem under Obamacare. Does even the dimmest bulb see the deck chairs shifting on the SS Obamacare?
But now, administration officials say they wish insurers had set their premiums higher and more accurately to begin with, so they wouldn’t have to hike them so much now. Have Americans grown tired of this double talk? Wait, there’s more; Bob Kocher, who was a White House adviser on health reform during the drafting of the health law, said that financial constraints prevented Democrats from making the subsidies more generous to begin with.
Kocher also said, “There weren’t any more publicly acceptable cuts that I’m aware of that we could have taken. If they had been able to somehow find more acceptable savings, I would have loved to apply it to subsidies.” That is double talk, Bob, and way too late in the game for this failing law.