Although Congress has put a hold on its deliberations on Obamacare’s repeal in order to enjoy the August recess, the realities of the Affordable Care Act’s uncertain future is affecting families throughout the country. One state, in particular, is facing a major health care dilemma.
According to Fox News, Iowa’s only Obamacare insurer is seeking a shocking 57 percent premium increase–after having asked for a 43.5 percent increase just two months ago. Over 14,000 Iowans stand to be hit by this change.
Minnesota-based Medica is the only insurer selling individual health insurance plans in Iowa. It was left as the lone company to offer such plans after Aetna and Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield announced their withdrawal in April, reported USA Today.
Despite requesting a rate hike of nearly 44 percent in June, Medica has issued its customers a letter regarding its plans to raise premiums for individual health insurance by an incredible 57 percent in light of political uncertainty over Obamacare’s fate.
As reported in the Des Moines Register, Medica sent Iowans the following statement: “We remain hopeful the federal government will fund the cost-sharing reductions, but we are working with the Iowa Insurance Division to help consumers understand the implications of lack of this funding. We regret the disruption this creates for consumers.”
As Fox News noted, advocates of Obamacare on the Left are now placing blame for the high rates on President Trump. Andrew Bates, the spokesman for the left-leaning group American Bridge, spoke out against the president: “Make no mistake: this 57 percent spike in premiums is a direct result of Donald Trump and Mike Pence sabotaging the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. Now Iowa families are going to suffer the consequences.”
For observers like Bates, the concerning state of Iowa’s health insurance status has been caused by Trump’s commitment to eliminate Obamacare. As reported by The Hill, President Trump suggested allowing Obamacare to “implode” by withholding subsidies the government pays to insurance companies.
Medica points to the potential loss of these subsidies as its reason for raising rates. And the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) claims cutting the subsidies would add $194 billion to the federal deficit over the next ten years because the lost money to insurers would be made up for through a different Obamacare subsidy.
Despite his threat, President Trump has authorized continued payment of these subsidies, as noted by CNBC.
On the campaign trail, one of Trump’s solutions for reducing the cost of health care was to increase competition among insurers by eliminating restrictions that create virtual monopolies in many states–as is currently the case in Iowa. Trump also emphasized the importance of health savings accounts, which offer tax-deductible contributions and withdrawals for medical purposes.
The Trump agenda on health care reform, however, has been stalled by the failure of Congress to pass an Obamacare repeal bill. The New York Times reported that the effort to eliminate Obamacare was voted down last month with the assistance of three Republican senators, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Iowans are currently caught in the middle of the health care debate. For them, the Obamacare situation has a very real effect on their lives. The actions (or inactions) of Congress will determine whether thousands of Iowa residents can afford health coverage.