President Obama’s attempt to fix widespread insurance plan cancellations earlier this year is now coming back to haunt him. According to Politico, many states—including Florida and North Carolina—are facing much bigger rate hikes than average. Some could be as high as 18 percent—more than double the 7.5 percent in other states. The reason for huge hikes in select states is that the president’s decision to allow insurers to continue offering some previously cancelled plans is having terrible knock-on effects:
The president’s decision is now having an impact on upcoming rates, insurers say. Many younger, healthier Americans — the category companies had counted on enrolling when they set their initial prices — stuck with their existing coverage. In states with the biggest numbers of these “transitional” policyholders, their absence from the Obamacare market is pushing premiums higher.
“It really is a state-by-state story,” said Joel Ario, a former director of exchanges at the Department of Health and Human Services who is now managing director at Manatt Health Solutions. “The more transitional policies that are not part of the risk pool yet, the more upward pressure there is on premiums.”
With “fixes” like this making rates spike dramatically in some states, it’s no wonder the law is more unpopular than ever. But a more fundamental problem remains: even in states that aren’t seeing these spikes, premiums are still rising by 7.5 percent. These year-on-year increases may not be quite as dramatic, but every year they bring us one step closer to a system we cannot afford any longer, period. Obamacare deserves all the scorn it will get for double-digit jumps in some states, but the bigger tragedy of the law is that we still have done next to nothing to make health care more sustainable over the long-term.