Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been roundly criticized for dwelling on little things during the campaign; his favor or disfavor of the Iraq War, bimbo eruptions, and personal attacks. If the billionaire mogul has any chance left to win, he must stay on the issues and pound them home in the Wednesday debate in Las Vegas.
One such issue is foreign policy with Hillary Clinton’s fingerprints all over the utter failure of the Obama administration covered in yesterday’s column. The other issue resonates with millions of disgruntled Americans, and that is the utter collapse of Obamacare.
A growing number of people in Obamacare are finding out their health insurance plans will disappear from the program next year, forcing them to find new coverage even as options shrink and prices rise.
Why is Trump not speaking out loud and clear on this fiasco?
At least 1.4 million people in 32 states will lose the Obamacare plan they have now, according to state officials contacted by Bloomberg. That’s largely caused by Aetna Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc. and some state or regional insurers quitting the law’s markets for individual coverage. These are not small companies, but mega-corporations pulling out of the insurance pool.
Pre-ordained sign-ups for Obamacare, cleverly put just after the election, begin next month. Fallout from the quitting insurers is the latest threat to the law, and should be Trump’s focal point in the U.S. presidential election. Interviews with regulators and insurance customers suggest that plans will be fewer and more expensive, and may not include the same doctors and hospitals.
Is this red meat for Wednesday night or what?
Trump can emphasize that instead of growing in 2017, Obamacare could shrink. As of March 31, the law covered 11.1 million people; an Oct. 13 S&P Global Ratings report predicted that enrollment next year will range from an 8 percent decline to a 4 percent gain.
This is major ammunition for a faltering Trump campaign. It’s now or never.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg contacted officials in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and the 1.4 million-person estimate includes 32 states and only plans sold on the individual “exchange” markets. In Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Missouri, insurers have pulled out, but regulators couldn’t or wouldn’t say how many people are affected. Could that be because they are being muted until after the election?
HHS said Thursday that it will contact people losing their coverage and encourage them to sign up with new plans. The law requires all Americans to have insurance or pay a fine. The nation’s anger over this “Affordable Care Act” is rampant. It may be working fine for the impoverished, but millions of Americans have lost their original healthcare insurance and their doctors while premiums and deductibles skyrocket into the stratosphere.
Nationwide estimates of the number of people losing their current plans are in the tens of millions. For the people losing plans, there are fewer and fewer choices. One estimate by the Kaiser Family Foundation predicts that for at least 19 percent of the people in Obamacare’s individual market next year, there will be only one insurer to choose from. In other words, the country is gravitating faster and faster to single-payer government-run health insurance. That was the plan by the Obama administration all along, and this disaster called Obamacare was planned with predictability.
Just ask the Republicans who voted for the law. Actually don’t; none did.