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Next President Will Take Office as Obamacare Results Hit

Next President Will Take Office as Obamacare Results Hit

(AP Images)

By    |   Thursday, 11 August 2016 08:45 AM

Obamacare enrollment tallies will come in about one week before the inauguration of the next president on Jan. 20. Experts say those results will act as a report card for the Affordable Care Act, right as the president is about to take office, according to The Hill.

"The next open enrollment period is key," Kaiser Family Foundation president Larry Levitt said. The fourth Obamacare signup period begins one week before Election Day.

Levitt said more insurers could leave the program, as UnitedHealth Group did. That would drive up prices and keep more people out, he said.

Rate increases are already being proposed. The average premium increase for next year is 9 percent, according to an analysis by Kaiser Family Foundation

Blue Cross Blue Shield's increases are larger than that; it has proposed 40 percent increases in Alabama and 60 percent in Texas, The Hill reports.

Levitt said the increases could be a "one-time market correction," because the Obamacare marketplace is still new. But problems could continue if insurers keep losing money.

Donald Trump has promised on his website to repeal Obamacare, while Hillary Clinton has promised to "defend and expand" it, according to her site, to help more people enroll

Clinton has also proposed a tax credit to take care of out-of-pocket costs, which have been a side effect of Obamacare, according to The Hill reports.

Obamacare's "risk corridor" plan to keep the markets stable had around one dollar to cover every ten dollars in claims, The Hill reports.

Insurers Aetna and Anthem changed their plans to expand in the marketplace. All five of the U.S.'s largest insurers say they are losing money in the program.

Healthcare consultant Michael Abrams said, "From a policy point of view, we're basically seeing the exchanges unravel. More than anything, it's a serious symbolic blow to Obamacare."

Leighton Wu, a health policy professor at George Washington University, said that some of the insurance companies' claims are "posturing," as strategy to push for changes to the marketplace and to get paid better.

"I've been dealing with insurance companies for many years, and it is often the case that insurance companies say, 'Gee, things are horrible, business is horrible, we're going to pull out."

"This is what companies do," Wu said.

Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik called for the government to push back against complaints by the insurers. He said that the government gave too much to insurers when the exchanges began.

"If the government started threatening to take some of that back, the betting here is that insurers would be sounding a lot more cooperative, and complaining a lot less," Hiltzik said.

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Obamacare enrollment tallies will come in about one week before the inauguration of the next president on Jan. 20.
Next President, Obamacare, Results
Thursday, 11 August 2016 08:45 AM
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