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Obamacare breaks promises

A few years ago, the Heritage Foundation published an analysis of the top 10 Obamacare promises broken – or soon to be broken. Among them were the now famous, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan,” and “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.”

Next year will bring another level of deterioration to the flawed program, and confirmation that two more promises were absolute, premeditated bunk: “In an Obama administration, we’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year,” and, “So this law means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.”

In fact, in 2017, companies such as Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and Humana are exiting the Obamacare exchanges in most states. Others, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, are reducing their involvement.

Aetna has lost $430 million in individual policies since January 2014; UnitedHealthcare says it will lose approximately $1 billion on Obamacare policies for 2015-16. Even the co-ops insurers created – and funded – through Obamacare are in trouble. More than half of them have failed.

“It seems increasingly clear that big, national insurers are having trouble competing in the Obamacare marketplaces and making money,” Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, commented. The bit about being able to make money is important not only because it keeps workers employed and the companies a vital part of the economy; it helps fill in the gaps when someone does, indeed, have to pay for all this “free” health care.

So, while competition disappears from the Obamacare exchanges – leaving as few as one or two options for patients in some states, the insurers are going to have to ask you, the policyholder, for more money. For 2017, insurers are requesting an average premium increase of 9 percent for the benchmark silver plan, in the 16 states and Washington, D.C. reviewed by the Kaiser Foundation. Last year, insurers in those same areas received an average 2 percent increase.

These then, are the realities of Obamacare. You may not be able to keep your health plan or your doctor; in fact, if you go through an exchange, you may have almost no choice of insurer; and your premiums are going up, so that you can pay for someone else’s “free” healthcare. President Barack Obama knows what his tilt at legacy will mean for ordinary Americans. Congress and the next president have an incredible task ahead if they intend to clean up the mess.