Many would suggest the current level of anger and frustration in this country generally — and current election cycle, specifically — are a direct reflection of the past seven plus years of President Obama’s leadership. We could point to any number of areas — a ballooning debt and continued sluggish economy; a weakened United States on the world stage while we bolster rising enemies like Iran and let ISIS rampage; increased division among Americans, fomented by our own Divider in Chief; and the list goes on. No doubt y’all could add to this list…Of course, let’s not forget a crown jewel in President Obama’s legacy: Obamacare. From the president’s now infamous bold-faced lies about “if you like your doctor,” to the bonafide fiasco that was the website, to the nation’s largest insurer having to pull out due to hundreds of millions in losses, Obamacare’s hits keep on coming.
And it looks like Obamacare will be providing another big one — and just in time for the November elections. On November 1, just one week before Americans go to the polls to elect the next president, many Americans will be hit with double-digit increases in their insurance rates.
The last thing Democrats want to contend with just a week before the 2016 presidential election is an outcry over double-digit insurance hikes as millions of Americans begin signing up for Obamacare.But that looks increasingly likely as health plans socked by Obamacare losses look to regain their financial footing by raising rates.
Just a week after the nation’s largest insurer, UnitedHealth Group, pulled out of most Obamacare exchanges because it anticipates $650 million in losses this year, Aetna’s CEO said Thursday that his company expects to break even, but legislative fixes are needed to make the marketplace sustainable.
“I think a lot of insurance carriers expected red ink, but they didn’t expect this much red ink,” said Greg Scott, who oversees Deloitte’s health plans practice. “A number of carriers need double-digit increases.”
The timing, though, is bad news for Democrats. Proposed rate hikes are just starting to dribble out, setting up a battle over health insurance costs in a tumultuous presidential election year that will decide the fate of Obamacare.And the headlines are likely to keep coming right up to Election Day since many consumers won’t see actual rates until the insurance marketplaces open Nov. 1 — a week before they go to the polls.
Of course, this will become a big topic on the campaign trail leading up to Election Day. Republicans will tie the pain consumers will be hit with to Hillary Clinton, who has proudly suggested Obamacare was Hillarycare originally and who has tried to position herself as Obama’s third term.Meanwhile, Democrats will tout the millions of people who are now insured — and the failure of Republicans to propose an alternative.
There’s also secret answer number three, which I’ll throw in. As Democrats being to fully realize the timing of this increase, who wants to bet they figure out some way to force a delay in consumers being notified about these rate increases?
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]