If you think that your employer-based insurance plan shields you from the astronomical premium hikes coming to the Obamacare market, think again. Republicans and independent analysts are warning that the administration’s defense – that skyrocketing premiums will largely be irrelevant due to federal subsidies – means that taxpayers will be footing the bill for a broken system.
This week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Obamacare premiums would be going up an average of 25% across the 39 states on the federal exchange. In some areas, premiums will jump far higher. Guarding against the inevitable panic, HHS spokespeople said that most low-income patients would be protected from the rising costs by subsidies inherent in the Affordable Care Act.
While that may be the case, we shouldn’t forget that “subsidies” don’t just appear out of thin air. They come from our tax dollars. And if Obamacare customers can’t afford to buy health insurance without an increase in subsidies, the feds will have no choice but to either abolish the law or hike taxes.
Fred Upton, the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, fired off a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to find out exactly what kind of bill the American people could expect to pay to keep Obamacare solvent.
“While the Administration continues to focus on premium ‘affordability,’ it ignores the undeniable fact that federal taxpayers are subsidizing these premium increases through tax credits,” Upton wrote. “The Committee is concerned that the federal taxpayer continues to bear the burden of subsidizing the growing cost of health care insurance.”
Meanwhile, Democrats are finally coming around to admitting that the system is broken. Sadly, their solution is not to scrap the law and start over; it’s to expand Obamacare to include a public option – a government-run health insurance company that will compete with private insurers. AKA: Well, we screwed up running the healthcare marketplace, so let us run an insurance company as well!
And when that fails, they’ll ask us to let them run the entire healthcare system.