Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ Category

Based on this MinnPost article, it’s safe to say that Rick Nolan isn’t providing any leadership in fixing the MNsure/ACA disaster. In a statement to MinnPost, Nolan said “Overturning the Affordable Care Act without ensuring that children can stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26, without guaranteeing that those without preexisting conditions will have access to care, or without ensuring that women do not pay more for health insurance than men would be a step backward for the American people.”

Here’s a few things worth noting. First, 26-year-olds aren’t children. They’re adults. They shouldn’t be treated like irresponsible children even if that’s what they act like. Next, Minnesota’s re-insurance plan was functioning smoothly in insuring people with pre-existing conditions. Eliminating that statute was a setback for Minnesotans. Rather than experimenting with another untested scheme, Democrats should return to a plan that was functioning smoothly. That would be a step in the right direction.

This is typical DFL spin:

Nolan is typically a reliable defender of Obamacare, and supports an expanded federal government role in increasing access to health care. He was quoted on Wednesday, however, by Tom Coombe of the Ely Echo saying that while the ACA did a lot of good things, “what it didn’t do was get costs and premiums under control.”

Saying that the ACA did lots of good things but that “what it didn’t do was get costs and premiums under control” is foolish. The ACA was allegedly written because health care costs were rising. If it failed to accomplish its primary goal, then it’s a failure.

This article is infuriating:

Dayton admitted the ACA needs tweaking, but outlined some of its success stories in an email to media Thursday. He went on to decry politicians who he said are using the health care issue to gain a political advantage less than two weeks before Election Day.

That’s chutzpah. Shame on Gov. Dayton for saying something so dishonest. It isn’t that the ACA “needs tweaking.” It’s that it needs a major overhaul. Prices are skyrocketing. Access is limited. Choices are dwindling. Deductibles are unaffordable for most people. What part of that sounds like the ACA needs tweaking?

Gov. Dayton supposedly decried “politicians who he said are using the health care issue to gain a political advantage.” Saying that a full-blown crisis needs tweaking sounds like a politician trying to limit the political damage the ACA might have on the DFL this election. It’s shameful that Gov. Dayton is criticizing others for making political hay because Gov. Dayton and the DFL made a major mistake in passing the MNsure legislation.

That’s the price politicians should pay for passing such terrible legislation. Bad policies frequently make for bad election results. The DFL passed the legislation. Now it’s time to pay the price for that decision.

Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute is recognized as a health care industry expert. Tanner’s latest article on the ACA delivers a detailed explanation of why the ACA is collapsing. Tanner’s article starts by saying “Listen closely. That’s the sound of a health-care plan dying. With the announcement this week of massive premium hikes for health insurance purchased through exchanges, it has become impossible to pretend that the Affordable Care Act is itself healthy.”

Here in Minnesota, Gov. Dayton punctured that image by admitting that “the Affordable Care Act isn’t for increasing numbers of Minnesotans.” Then he apologized for making that statement. The bad news for the DFL is that he apologized to DFL politicians for making their lives a living hell. The minute people heard about the big premium increases, they started peppering DFL legislative candidates with questions about MNsure. But I digress.

According to Tanner, the crisis is already manifesting itself in troubling ways. Further into the article, Tanner wrote “The average deductible for a family with a Silver plan now exceeds $6,400. Total out-of-pocket costs can exceed $12,000. This is on top of rapidly shrinking provider networks that make it increasingly difficult to keep your doctor. As Bill Clinton famously said, ‘People are paying twice as much and getting half the coverage.'”

Then Tanner tauntingly says “But at least the ACA is doing away with that whole pesky choosing-your-insurer headache. Increasingly, insurance companies are dropping out of the exchanges altogether. Fully one-third of US counties now have just one insurer participating.” Actually, it’s worse than that. The county I live in is one of 5 counties in Central Minnesota where Blue Plus is only available for government-run programs. Blue Plus is the only insurance company that isn’t capped this year.

What happens when the other major health insurance companies reach their caps? Experts are predicting that they’ll do that fairly quickly once open enrollment starts. What are the families in those counties supposed to do when that happens? The Dayton administration has admitted that they don’t have an answer to that situation.

This is coming true:

All of this was entirely predictable. The ACA prohibits insurers from denying coverage to people who are already, or likely to become, sick. Nor can insurers charge those sick people more.

The ‘cure’ for this should’ve been establishing a high-risk pool. That’s what Minnesota did … in the 1970s. That kept the healthy patients’ prices fairly stable. People with pre-existing conditions using the high-risk pool get a subsidized health insurance policy. Because young healthy people aren’t getting charged high premiums, they’re more apt to buy health insurance. Also, the ability to pick out a plan that they like makes them most likely to buy insurance.

The White House’s only option is to lie about the rate increases:

After reading Mary Katherine Ham’s article, I’m more furious than ever that there’s a politician left that voted for the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It’s nothing of the sort. The people that inflicted this torture on Americans are in-American. They aren’t patriots.

For those like me, take your blood pressure medication before reading this. You’ll thank me later.

Mary Katherine writes “Like many other Americans, I got a letter last week. This letter is becoming an annual tradition, arriving on my doorstep in October to inform me of my Obamacare insurance premium hike. Last year, the letter said my Bronze plan, purchased on the marketplace formed by the, ahem, Affordable Care Act, would increase by almost 60 percent. This year, my premium is going up 96 percent. Ninety-six percent. My monthly payment, which was the amount of a decent car payment, is now the size of a moderate mortgage. The president refers to these for thousands of citizens as “a few bugs” when to us it feels like a flameout.”

Frankly, I’m more than a little disgusted with politicians that care more about preserving their legacy than they are with doing the right thing for the American people. People that spin the facts to preserve their legacy are disgusting people. They aren’t patriots. But I digress. Unfortunately, that’s before finding this out:

For this astronomical payment, I get a plan with an astronomical deductible that my healthy family of three will likely never hit except in the most catastrophic of circumstances.

President Obama, how can a moral person justify their support for legislation that hurts middle class families like Mary Katherine’s? Answer: They can’t if they’ve got a conscience. Apparently, you don’t have a conscience. Then again, that isn’t really news to anyone who’s paid attention to President Obama.

This is both infuriating and heartbreaking:

My individual deductible is more than two times the high deductible on my old “junk” plan. My family’s deductible is ten times what the IRS defines as a high deductible. I now pay a high premium for a high-deductible plan, while also paying co-pays and out-of-pocket costs, meaning my plan is both junkier and more expensive.

This isn’t a time for tinkering around the edges of this God-forsaken legislation. This isn’t a time to spin this legislation as having some problems but lots of positive things. In totality, it’s the worst legislation enacted into law. It’s immoral, too.

Mary Katherine’s pre-Obamacare plan fit her families’ needs perfectly. She did the right thing for her family. Once the ACA was signed into law, though, the Obama administration eliminated her options and raised Mary Katherine’s prices. There’s nothing justifiable about that.

If anyone knows the definition of opportunity costs, it’s economists and accountants. Opportunity costs are defined as “the money or other benefits lost when pursuing a particular course of action instead of a mutually-exclusive alternative.” The opportunity costs of MNsure and the ACA, aka Obamacare, are staggering compared with what we could’ve had had Democrats not shut Republicans out of the process.

Whether we’re talking about MNsure’s skyrocketing health insurance premiums or the ACA’s unaffordable deductibles or the shrinking networks of MNsure and the ACA, the opportunity costs are disgusting when compared with the system Minnesotans established years ago. The federal government should’ve moved in Minnesota’s direction. Minnesota shouldn’t have moved in President Obama’s direction. The truth is that Minnesota’s system wasn’t broken. DFL politicians like Gov. Dayton, Sen. Franken, Sen. Klobuchar, then-House Speaker Thissen, State Sen. Bakk and Sen. Lourey treated it like it was dysfunctional.

Too often, the system currently in place is expensive. Prior to the ACA, and directly thanks to Minnesota’s high-risk pool, known as MCHA, aka the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, 93% of Minnesotans were insured. Further, Minnesota’s premiums were some of the lowest premiums in the nation. Finally, it’s noteworthy that half of the people who weren’t insured were eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance. Had those people bought insurance, Minnesota’s uninsured rate would’ve been 3.6% in 2007.

Instead, Gov. Dayton and the DFL became cheerleaders for the ACA, implementing it in 2013. Since then, health insurance premiums have skyrocketed, deductibles have went from being a little high to being prohibitively expensive. At this point, these deductibles make insurance too expensive to use. The system created by President Obama, Gov. Dayton, Sen. Klobuchar, Sen. Franken, State Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen is nearing a financial meltdown. Because of this crisis, Gov. Dayton has issued a proposal that’s designed to win votes, not solve the health care crisis he helped create. Here’s part of his fact sheet:

Why Provide Rebates for Healthcare Premiums?

  1. Any Minnesotan purchasing coverage on the individual market should first go to MNsure to confirm whether they are eligible for federal tax credits
  2. There are 123,000 Minnesotans expected to purchase health coverage on the individual market in 2017, who are not eligible for federal tax credits because of their income
  3. These individuals and families are unfairly shouldering the burden of the health insurers’ 50 percent to 66 percent premium increases in 2017

That’s insulting. These individuals are unfairly shouldering the burden that politicians created. The politicians created a system that was unsustainable. Republicans frequently predicted this outcome. Democrats frequently insisted that Republicans didn’t know what they were talking about. In this instance, reality won. The Republicans’ predictions were right.

What idiot couldn’t predict that young healthy people making modest incomes wouldn’t purchase expensive health insurance policies? It’s the cost-effective decision to make. What idiot couldn’t predict that people with pre-existing conditions wouldn’t be the first to buy health insurance?

Another statement on Gov. Dayton’s fact sheet says “Overall, the Governor’s rebate reduces the 2017 rate increases from an average 55 percent increase to a 16 percent increase.” Later in the fact sheet, it says “he one-time 25 percent health insurance premium rebate would be financed with the approximately $313 million which is scheduled to be added to the existing $1.9 billion Budget Reserves this December.” In other words, President Obama, Gov. Dayton, Sen. Franken, Sen. Klobuchar, State Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen demolished a health care system that was working but Minnesotans are paying high taxes to pay for the DFL’s disaster.

What’s worse is that Gov. Dayton’s plan doesn’t fix anything. It’s a stop-gap measure that won’t fix all the things that are wrong with the ACA. Only Chairman Davids’ plan does that.

The DFL doesn’t fix problems. It only creates them, then complains when Republicans don’t help them fix the messes the DFL created. A vote for a DFL legislator is a vote for more problems. A vote for a Republican legislator is a vote for solving problems or a vote for getting it right the first time. The choice is simple.

The politics surrounding the MNsure crisis took a bizarre turn yesterday when a politician stated that “It’s a real breakdown in the functioning of the Affordable Care Act”, then said “I take it very, very seriously. And I deplore it.” That politician wasn’t Speaker Daudt, though Daudt had some harsh words to say about MNsure.

The politician who said that the ACA was breaking down and that the letdown was deplorable was Gov. Dayton. Of course, Gov. Dayton didn’t propose a plan to fix the MNsure crisis. He left that responsibility to legislators. Whether he likes it or not, Gov. Dayton’s responsibility is that of being Minnesota’s CEO.

Thus far, Gov. Dayton hasn’t shown any leadership during this crisis. The good news is that Republicans, especially Speaker Daudt and Rep. Greg Davids, are trying to solve Minnesota’s health insurance crisis. Rep. Davids, the chair of the House Taxes Committee, pictured below, just updated Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk, Sen. Hann, Speaker Daudt and Rep. Paul Thissen on what he’s working on.

In Chairman Davids’ letter, he outlined his priorities rather succinctly, saying “We need fixes that will lower costs, help Minnesotans keep their doctors, and increase their choices.” Then he wrote this:

Lower Costs

Create an immediate tax credit that applies to Minnesotans who purchase health insurance both on and off the MNsure exchange that has eligibility beyond current federal subsidies to buy down premium costs. If even one Minnesotan can keep their doctor or find an affordable alternative, Governor Dayton should put the full force of his administration behind lobbying the federal government to allow access to credits off the exchange.

Amen to that, Chairman Davids. Finding solutions that let families keep their doctors and plans must be part of the long-term fix. Anything less is selling families short.

Then there’s this:

Keep Doctors

Create a tax credit to reduce out of-network-costs that arise from seeking care from a long-time primary care physician. Minnesotans were promised that if they liked their doctor they could keep their doctor, but too many are losing their long-time doctors due to narrow networks. Continuity of care needs to be addressed to ensure that we do not lose sight of the importance of actual health care when we look at the problems with health insurance coverage.

The ACA guarantees the right to buy insurance. Unfortunately, the accompanying high deductibles make health care unaffordable for too many families. Forcing families to buy insurance that they can’t afford to use is immoral. It shouldn’t be tolerated. If the DFL insists on tinkering around the edges of this failing system, Republicans in St. Paul and DC should remind the state and the nation that Republicans fought for solutions while Democrats fought for salvaging a failed ideology.

More Choices

Allow Minnesotans to purchase non-qualified health plans (QHPs), and seek a federal waiver to waive tax penalties for those who purchase a non-QHP insurance plan. If the federal government will not approve the waiver, Minnesota should provide a rebate to cover the cost of the non-QHP penalty.

A to the men, Chairman Davids. It’s time to tell the federal government that their plan is a total failure and that it’s time to do the right thing by American families. Once Minnesota’s system, which will be implemented thanks to Republican leadership, starts lowering costs and providing families more choice, the rest of the nation will copy Minnesota’s model.

Thus far, Gov. Dayton’s efforts have been halfhearted. It’s heartwarming to see Republicans like Speaker Daudt and Chairman Davids providing leadership in solving Minnesota’s health insurance and health care crises. It’s disheartening to see Gov. Dayton and the DFL essentially sitting on the sidelines and proposing tinker-around-the-edges non-solutions.

UPDATE: This is a copy of Chairman Davids’ letter:

Rep. Davids letter to Governor Dayton and Legislative Leaders by Minnesota House Republicans on Scribd

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Reading Froma Harrop’s article provides an opportunity to teach people about the ACA’s shortcomings. The headline-grabbing things talk about the individual markets and the health insurance premium increases. There’s no question that these topics are worthy of front-page headlines. Still, they aren’t the only flaws with the ACA.

The thing that isn’t getting headlines but should be is the fundamental flaw of the ACA. Specifically, very little about the ACA was built right. Let’s start there. There’s no question but that people with pre-existing conditions needed to get insured. Minnesota and other states with high-risk pools had already figured out a way to do that. Rather than copy what was working in Minnesota, President Obama, Sen. Reid and then-Speaker Pelosi took an unproven approach. This year, with huge spikes in health insurance premiums, we’re seeing how flawed the ACA’s exchanges are.

Back to Ms. Harrop’s article and her splitting hairs. Ms. Harrop wrote “Spurred by screaming headlines about “skyrocketing” premiums on some government insurance exchanges, Obamacare foes are dredging up Bill Clinton’s colorful quote regarding the Affordable Care Act. No, Clinton didn’t call it ‘crazy.’ This is what Clinton said (after noting that over 20 million more Americans now have health care): ‘The people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.'” She continued, saying this:

Let’s put the matter in context and in proportion. Let’s do some grown-up explaining. To start, the unsubsidized folks facing 25 percent jumps in premiums (midlevel plans are the benchmark) are a small group. Less than 10 percent of Americans buy insurance on the federal and state exchanges. That’s about 12 million people, versus the 155 million who are covered at work. And 86 percent of people on the government exchanges get federal assistance to pay their premiums. More will qualify for subsidies as the premiums go up.

Let’s pay attention to something President Clinton said that Ms. Harrop is ignoring:

The people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.

While Ms. Harrop wants to highlight the fact that more “will qualify for subsidies as the premiums go up”, the unpleasant reality is that the ACA has led to fewer choices for Americans. It’s also led to people not being able to keep their doctors that they’ve seen for 20+ years.

While that isn’t the definition of crazy, it’s certainly the portrait of a system that’s malfunctioning.

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It’s clear from reading this MPR article that Speaker Daudt has had it with Gov. Dayton’s refusal to provide leadership on fixing what’s broken with MNsure and the ACA. It’s uncharacteristic of Speaker Daudt to get this upset. Still, I think he’s justified in getting upset. Gov. Dayton and the DFL have told us since the creation of MNsure that it was going to be fantastic for Minnesota families.

It hasn’t been fantastic. It’s been a disaster.

Everyone’s focused on the high premium increases in the individual market policies and rightfully so. Still, that’s hardly the only heartache that the ACA has caused Minnesota families. Everyone who’s bought a bronze-level policy has a high deductible. People not living in the Twin Cities have small networks and few choices when it comes to insurers. That isn’t making Minnesota families’ lives better. It’s pushing them backwards.

Wednesday, Speaker Daudt upped the ante for the DFL and Gov. Dayton. This paragraph sums things up perfectly:

Daudt, who became increasingly irate during a 40-minute news conference, said a special session must address multiple issues, including affordability, access, enrollment caps and the technical operations of the state health insurance exchange MNsure.

Like I said earlier in this post, there’s a lot that isn’t working within MNsure and the ACA. These are fundamental issues that must be fixed ASAP. The temporary fix that Gov. Dayton and the DFL have proposed doesn’t qualify as a Band-Aid, much less a solution. Speaker Daudt then highlighted Gov. Dayton’s indifference to solving the MNsure crisis in this paragraph:

Daudt also said Dayton needs to marshal the resources of his administration to deal with the crisis. “And if I find out that those people aren’t working 24/7 to find a solution to help these people get health insurance, I’m going to call for Dayton’s resignation myself personally,” he said. “This is absolutely a dereliction of leadership that he is trying to pass the buck onto others right now.”

Knowing that they got stung with that statement, the Dayton administration issued this timid rebuttal:

A spokesperson for the governor said he would not dignify Daudt’s “temper tantrum” with a response.

Speaker Daudt’s reply wasn’t like Gov. Dayton’s frequent temper tantrums. Gov. Dayton’s temper tantrums happened when he didn’t get his way on something. Gov. Dayton’s temper tantrums happened because he was acting like a spoiled brat. Speaker Daudt’s anger was triggered by Gov. Dayton’s incompetence and Gov. Dayton’s indifference to fixing the MNsure crisis. Watch this video, then tell me if Speaker Daudt’s reactions were those of a spoiled brat (they weren’t) or if they were the reactions of a man who’s upset with terrible policies and a lack of leadership:

Speaker Daudt, in my opinion, looks like a man fighting to fix a crisis. He looks like a man who’s upset with what he thinks is a lack of leadership. It’s clear he thinks Gov. Dayton isn’t a leader. He’s right about that. Speaker Daudt is totally about fixing problems. He’s a real leader.

By comparison, Gov. Dayton is an ideologue. (Lt. Gov. Tina Flint-Smith is an ideologue, too.) He isn’t a pragmatist, much less a solutions-oriented politician. Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Linden Bakula, Gov. Dayton’s chief mouthpiece, criticized Speaker Kurt Daudt this afternoon, saying that Speaker Daudt’s statement was a “temper tantrum.” According to this article, Daudt said that Gov. “Dayton needs to stop holding press conferences and start finding solutions to [this] health care crisis.”

The important information in Tom Hauser’s article came when he wrote that “Premiums will rise by as much as 67 percent in Minnesota’s individual market for next year. Dayton has urged legislative leaders to come up with solutions by the end of the month.” Earlier today, Speaker Daudt sent a sharply-worded letter to Gov. Dayton that asked Gov. Dayton some questions that Gov. Dayton isn’t interested in answering. In fact, Gov. Dayton isn’t interested in giving specific answers to Republicans in public. That’s why Gov. Dayton is calling on the 4 conference leaders to provide the solutions. It isn’t that Gov. Dayton doesn’t have any ideas. It’s that he doesn’t want to share his radical policies with the public right before the election.

Here’s one of Speaker Daudt’s questions from his letter that’s sure to make Gov. Dayton feel uncomfortable:

Due to the caps, Minnesotans in over fifty counties are forced to choose between a capped insurer and an insurer with an average increase of 67 percent. Once enrollment caps are reached, fifty-three counties will have just one choice. In an additional five counties, the only options are insurers with enrollment caps. Once caps are reached, people in those five counties will have no choices.

This is unacceptable and contrary to every promise you and legislative Democrats made when MNsure was launched three years ago. Once enrollment caps are reached, what options will exist for the approximately 20,000 Minnesotans who purchase coverage on their own in those counties?

What happens to these families? It’s clear that the Dayton administration hasn’t prepared for this part of the crisis. That’s just part of the crisis. Here’s another question that Speaker Daudt had for Gov. Dayton:

Despite claims that MNsure’s operational and technological problems are a thing of the past, recent performance and federal reports indicate otherwise. Customers faced huge wait times and unhelpful advice just last December. Further, my understanding is that the MNsure site is capable of handling fewer than 700 customers at a time. Given that limitation, the call center could experience volume that far exceeds last December’s surge which caused massive delays. Details of how MNsure has improved to meet the demands of open enrollment are appreciated.

The implied question is this: What’s the back-up plan to handle the 110,000+ callers who don’t have insurance? What happens when MNsure melts down and these families can’t purchase their health insurance in time?

In the past, we’ve seen obscene wait times because MNsure wasn’t prepared for that volume of calls. What happens to the people who can’t buy health insurance because the Dayton administration didn’t do its job? This is a frightening thought operation-wise:

There are approximately 25,000 capped carrier spots for the 112,000 that are in need of new insurance and thousands more that want better options. If enrollment is only checked twice per week, it is likely that thousands of consumers will end up in limbo.

That information leads to these questions:

If caps are exceeded prior to a plan’s removal or the posting of a notice of no new enrollment, what will happen to those customers? Similarly, if a customer’s odds of securing a capped carrier plan are better by enrolling directly with a carrier, or if the MNsure website is unable to handle the capacity, will those enrollments be honored by MNsure so the person can receive a federal tax credit?

Gov. Dayton has floated along without getting hit with the tough questions thus far. During this crisis, Speaker Daudt has started asking those difficult question. Thus far, Gov. Dayton hasn’t answered those questions. At a time when we need executive leadership, Gov. Dayton has been as visible as a ghost.

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This article highlights the dysfunction of MNsure. While it isn’t surprising, it’s still aggravating.

The story starts by saying “Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville, said at a Monday news conference that a constituent had contacted her after receiving a voter registration form from MNsure, the state-run health insurance exchange, even though the person in question is already registered to vote and does not purchase health insurance through MNsure.” Since the constituent who contacted Rep. Peterson is already registered, it isn’t likely that the person requested a voter registration form. That begs the question of why Rep. Peterson’s constituent received the voter registration form.

The answer comes further into the article. Linden Zakula tried spinning it, saying “House Republicans should know that for the past thirty years, state law has required agencies to provide voter registration materials to people who request them. This failure to understand a statutory responsibility demonstrates once again that House Republicans know almost nothing about state government.” That’s a nice try but it’s BS. The constituent was surprised to get the voter registration information because the constituent was already registered. It’s difficult to picture a person who’s a registered voter requesting voter registration forms.

Further, it’s disquieting to find out that each state agency is required to “provide voter registration materials to people” requesting them. If Minnesota wants to make it easy to register to vote, which it does, they should spend money on an advertising campaign each election cycle highlighting the fact that voter registration forms are available from the Secretary of State’s office or at county offices. That way, you don’t have state employees who are supposed to be working on health insurance issues also helping with voter registration requests.

Later in the article, in fact, Rep. Peterson (pictured below) confirmed that the constituent hadn’t requested voter registration information.

MNsure still has difficulties doing its job. Telling it to expand its responsibilities is beyond foolish.

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Some liberals will criticize me for this post, especially the title. That’s their problem. After reading this article, though, I’m not worried about liberals’ criticisms. The truth is that health insurance premiums are going through the proverbial roof with the ACA. People should flinch when they hear that “[before] taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Some states will see much bigger jumps.”

One of the states that “will see much bigger jumps” is Arizona. According to the article, “in Arizona, unsubsidized premiums for a hypothetical 27-year-old buying a benchmark “second-lowest cost silver plan” will jump by 116 percent, from $196 to $422, according to the administration report.” These astronomical premium increases will further the death spiral because young people have little incentive to buy health insurance. They’re better off paying the penalty, then buying health insurance if they need major medical help.

This year’s 116% premium increase in Arizona will seem mild compared to next year’s premium increases. What’s frightening is that that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Jim Angle and Brit Hume discuss what’s possibly coming next in this interview:

This map should frighten the bejesus out of Democrats:

David Montgomery’s article should frighten the DFL. Here’s why:

New figures released Monday show an average premium increase of 25 percent in the 39 states using the federal insurance exchange. Minnesota uses a state-run exchange, MNsure. Among the 43 states with available data, Minnesota has the fourth-highest premium increase, behind Tennessee, Oklahoma and the 116 percent increase in Arizona. All three states use

Despite Minnesota’s huge increase, it’s not among the states with the highest 2017 premiums, though it is now above-average in costs. That’s because just a few years ago, Minnesota had among the lowest premiums in the nation, so even years of double-digit increases leave Minnesota with the 13th-highest premiums in the country, according to a Pioneer Press analysis.

Going from the lowest premiums in the nation to the 13th-highest isn’t something the DFL should be proud of. Most importantly, it isn’t likely that Minnesota families will let the DFL off the hook in 2016 or 2018 for demolishing Minnesota’s insurance system.

Republicans have repeatedly highlighted the fact that the DFL shoved MNsure down Minnesotans’ throats without a single Republican vote. Even Esme Murphy jumped Sen. Jeff Hayden about the DFL’s MNsure plan.

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