Earlier this month, during a town hall event in Lorton, Virginia, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton seemed stumped when a small business owner asked for an explanation for the drastic increase in her health insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Clinton, who was discussing work-life balance with women and families in Lorton on May 9, admitted she didn’t know why the owner’s premium increased by $500 a month.
The small business owner explained to Clinton that she has no choice but to keep most of her employees as independent contractors because of the high cost of health insurance and loses many of her employees to other opportunities where there are benefits.
Clinton said the woman’s concerns are a reality for people in most markets and that the government should take a closer look at out-of-pocket health care costs, adding that insurance companies should be required to justify what they are charging and why their costs are going up so much.
“I think our concern is that, I think Hilary Clinton’s comments at this particular event, which was covered by the Free Beacon, shows just out of touch she is when it comes to Obamacare,” Jason Pye, director of communications and justice reform for FreedomWorks, recently told Patient Daily. “Health insurance premiums are rising, have risen and they are going to continue to rise.”
Pye said premiums will continue to skyrocket, particularly when the risk corridors program starts to expire at the end of the year.
The reinsurance and risk corridors programs were established to help insurers offering ACA-compliant plans to charge lower premiums and attract more enrollees as the ACA, or Obamacare, took effect.
“Insurers aren’t going to be able to bank on the money that was coming in from the risk corridors program," Pye said. "So, the premium rates are going to rise because of that. I don’t know that we’ll have a death spiral as some people have predicted or said could happen, but we are going to see pretty serious increases."
The reason health insurance premiums have risen since the implementation of Obamacare is because of elements such as the 10 essential benefits the law provides, Pye stated.
“Those are mandates that people have to pay for whether or not they are going to use those mandates or use that particular part of their coverage," he said. "I think that artificially increases the price of health insurance coverage. People should have an option of what coverage they want to have without having government choose for them what is in their policy. And that is something that will truly lower the cost of health insurance coverage, make it more affordable.”
Pye believes other aspects of the law, such as community rating, make health insurance more expensive. The lack of completion on the exchanges also creates a less-than-ideal situation for consumers.
“We are seeing insurers pulling out of many states and many markets because they can’t find enough customers,” Pye said. “The risk pools are so tilted towards older and sicker patients that there are not enough younger and healthier patients to offset costs and keep them low. I think people have seen what Obamacare is and they don’t want it, and insurers are finally starting to realize that.”
Pye would like to believe Obamacare proponents -- namely Democrats -- will look at the evidence and “come to their senses,” but he
is not optimistic.
“I think we are seeing, especially with the presidential race, you have a candidate who identifies as a socialist and who wants a very costly, very expensive, single-payer health care program," Pye said. "A large block of Democrats, more than 40 percent, that is the candidate they have chosen and they want. I think they want more involvement in health care, not less, and I think that is really unfortunate.”
Bernie Sanders’ health care plan would cost trillions and trillions of dollars over the next few years, Pye explained, and if there is anything Obamacare should teach legislators, it is that increased government involvement in health care regulation is detrimental.