Sunday, December 27, 2015

Texas Republicans Tantrum over ObamaCare raises premiums and subsidies.

Republicans made their point, by increasing the cost of ObamaCare (ACA).

Blame their never-ending tantrum over ObamaCare. Specifically, Republicans hate the risk sharing program (risk corridors, where the program collects insurer profits above a certain threshold and pays out to carriers with excessive losses). Republicans don't want ObamaCare to step in to supposedly "bailout" insurers. Those risk corridors expire after 2016.

So you might be surprised to learn Texas insurers are getting the biggest reimbursements (bailouts). Follow me on this, as we compare Texas to California. Dallas News:
In Texas, insurers lost a combined $377 million in the first year of HealthCare.gov, according to claims in a federal risk-sharing program. In California, insurers contributed over $180 million in profit to the same program.
ObamaCare works in California:
Covered California ... opted to become an “active purchaser,” negotiating with carriers, standardizing benefits and picking plans for the exchange. California also required policyholders to move into the new marketplace even though many resisted.
Texas did just the opposite, choosing instead to have a tantrum over Obama's broken promise that people could keep their existing plans. So Obama gave in and let people keep their plans and "that affected insurers, because it didn’t force everyone — healthy and sick — into the same pool."
California rejected Obama’s proposal and took some heat. But that “short-term political sacrifice” produced long-term market stability ... That decision helped create a more diverse mix of customers. And “California had the healthiest risk pool of all 50 states.
And because Texas stayed with the old system:
In Texas, insurers are raising premiums, restricting prescriptions, narrowing provider networks and eliminating most out-of-network benefits. 

For 2016, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, the state’s largest insurer ... premiums rising an average of 19 percent. Scott & White increased exchange premiums by over 32 percent. Humana’s up 21 percent, and Cigna and UnitedHealth, over 16 percent.
Raising the price of ObamaCare: Those higher premiums mean higher subsidies, draining ObamaCare:
Higher rates affect about 1 million Texans who buy coverage on HealthCare.gov and also increase federal subsidies that offset the costs.

In California, exchange premiums are increasing by ... 4 percent next year.

Texas politicians didn’t help the situation. They put up hurdles for federal navigators who helped customers select plans, and they’ve never encouraged enrollment. Not surprisingly, fewer Texans get coverage on the exchange: just 31 percent of those eligible compared with 47 percent in California, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

If Texas matched the participation rate in California, over half a million more residents would buy insurance.

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