Consumers, Politicians Criticizing Obamacare As Options Shrink

Date: August 31, 2016

New Analysis Shows Up To 2.1 Million Consumers May Have To Switch Obamacare Plans In 2017

USA Today reports on ACASignups.net’s latest projections for 2017 Obamacare market rate increases. According to ACASignup’s analysis, some 2.1 million consumers may have to switch plans for 2017 because insurers are exiting Obamacare marketplaces. That figure represents an increase from 1.2 million last year, and it does not “include the millions who bought new plans because they found a better deal.” The article says this “turmoil” in Obamacare marketplaces is pushing “federal regulators to stabilize the system, lower costs for consumers and reduce risks for insurers – often conflicting challenges that create a Catch-22.” In addition to dealing with these consumer issues, the Administration must also face criticism from Republicans who continue to urge repeal of the healthcare law. Kevin Counihan, CEO of Healthcare.gov, pointed out that “insurers are adjusting at different rates to selling on the exchanges,” and he said that CMS “is considering bolstering programs to help insurers manage the risk of treating their new customers.”

In its “Upshot” column, the New York Times calls out Obamacare marketplaces, noting that they “have been suffering from high-profile defections and double-digit premium increases,” and adding that the law’s critics “pointed to the recent problems as proof the market is not working, while even the law’s staunchest defenders are arguing that the marketplaces need some fixes.” The Times considers “four key challenges to the program” – that insurance co-ops created under Obamacare have largely failed, that Obamacare rate hikes are likely to be significantly higher in 2017 than in previous years, that the Congressional Budget Office expected about twice as many Obamacare exchange enrollees as there actually were, and that tools the government implemented to project insurers from large losses have been largely ineffective.

What This Means For Small Businesses

The Obama Administration created additional cost burdens and regulatory uncertainty for small business owners by implementing Obamacare. The latest data signals that 2017 will be the toughest year yet under Obamacare, and small businesses will once again bear the brunt of costs associated with mounting healthcare costs.

Additional Reading

Congressional Quarterly reports on an Obama Administration proposal to adjust the “risk adjustment formula, which redistributes funds from insurers with plans with relatively healthy enrollees to those with relatively sicker ones” as a way to help lower costs for insurers.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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