PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts React to Obamacare Rate Hikes

Published October 25, 2016

The Department of Health and Human Services this week announced insurance purchased under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, will increase an average of 25 percent in 2017 across 39 states that use federal exchanges. Some states will see much bigger rate hikes, while others will see smaller increases.

Twenty percent of customers shopping in the federal exchanges will find only one insurance company to choose from. Only 2 percent of consumers had only one choice in 2016, but health insurance giants UnitedHealth, Humana, and Aetna have largely pulled out of Obamacare over the past 12 months. The next open enrollment for ACA begins November 1.

The following statements from health policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“President Obama promised the Affordable Care Act would reduce health insurance costs for average families by $2,500 a year. But two years after Obamacare went into effect, health insurance premiums for average families even with job-based coverage have increased by $3,775 per year. Total costs for employer-provided coverage have increased by $17,000 per year since Obamacare passed in 2010, primarily due to taxes and regulations imposed by Obamacare. Studies show Obamacare has already increased health insurance costs for younger adults by 44 percent. Now comes news that next year costs will increase even faster.

“Obama says not to worry. Much of the added costs will be covered by taxpayers through tax credits. But more precisely, those costs will be covered by adding the costs to our $20 trillion national debt. That is still more of the long-term decline of America under Obama’s socialist economic policies. Don’t expect more jobs, rising wages, and increased economic growth until America is liberated from this economic oppression – which Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton promises to continue.

“None of this should be a surprise, since every promise Obama made to win enactment of Obamacare has proven false.”

Peter Ferrara
Senior Fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

Mr. Ferrara is the author of Power to the People: The New Road to Freedom and Prosperity for the Poor, Seniors, and Those Most in Need of the World’s Best Health Care (2015), and The Obamacare Disaster (2010).

“The new hikes in Affordable Care Act premiums are only the most recent failure of the beleaguered program. The Affordable Care Act has continually proven to be anything but affordable, costing Americans more than $1 trillion in new federal taxes over the next 10 years and increasing health care costs across the board.

“ACA architects argued that ensuring everyone had a health insurance plan would encourage patients to take advantage of preventative care and use their own doctors instead of the emergency room. The reality has been the opposite: The number of emergency room visits by low-income patients has increased since Obamacare went into effect, health care costs have skyrocketed, reimbursement rates have plummeted, and the quality of care provided has yet to improve.

“ACA has many problems demanding reform or full repeal. The fact that substantial subsidies are needed to prop up this imploding program is a problem, not a laudable benefit.”

Matthew Glans
Senior Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“By announcing the health insurance premium hikes The Heartland Institute reported almost a week ago, the Department of Health and Human Services has once again confirmed the Affordable Care Act’s failure to empower patients and improve the country’s health care market. “Now HHS is papering over the law’s cracks, boasting increased subsidies for people facing average Obamacare premium increases of 25 percent nationwide. As mega insurers jump ship to cut their losses, the Obama administration throws good money after bad.

“The latest round of hikes confirms that unaccountable governments are skilled at manipulating people and markets but not at containing the explosive costs of their own central planning.”

Michael Hamilton
Managing Editor, Health Care News
Research Fellow
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.