On Monday, the Obama administration admitted something that, in a normal election year, might be the sort of news that could swing an election: Healthcare premiums are going to go way, way up next year for a lot of people who rely on Obamacare.
The 2010 Affordable Care Act proposed state-level insurance "exchanges" (or markets) in states where people who can't afford policies can shop around and get subsidies to help pay their premiums. (HealthCare.gov is the federal nexus of that spiffy new regime.) But as the Associated Press reports, private insurers, citing loses they're taking under the new system, are bailing on Obamacare in many states. That leaves roughly one in five of those looking for coverage with a single choice.
In the 39 states with Obamacare exchanges, premiums are expected to rise an average of 25 percent, according to the feds, though officials emphasized that subsidies would defray that cost for many people. Still, premiums are unquestionably on the rise.
"Consumers will be faced this year with not only big premium increases but also with a declining number of insurers participating, and that will lead to a tumultuous open enrollment period," Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation told the AP.
Open enrollment begins November 1, a week before Election Day.
This won't affect Americans who get health insurance through their jobs or through Medicare or Medicaid. And these rate hikes will not be evenly distributed across the country: A 27-year-old in Arizona, the AP reports, could see premiums spike by over $200 a month. Most people probably won't see increases anywhere near that high.
Obamacare has provided millions of Americans with insurance, one of the law's main objectives. But the rising premiums and the withdrawal of insurers from the exchanges have many Republicans claiming that the system was headed toward a "death spiral."