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Clinton Refuses To Face The Facts As Trouble Brews For ObamaCare in Virginia

- May 9, 2016

TODAY IN VIRGINIA, CLINTON TOLD A WOMAN WHOSE PREMIUM HAD GONE UP $500 THAT SHE DIDN'T KNOW WHY HER RATE HAD INCREASED

Clinton Can't Explain Why ObamaCare Raised Small Business Owner's Healthcare By $500. QUESTIONER: "I am a small business owner as well, very small, about eight people. I have a two year old daughter. Just to piggy back on a few of the issues, you talk about healthcare. As a small business owner, not only are you trying to provide benefits to your employees, you are trying to provide benefits to yourself. So I have seen our health insurance for our own families go up five hundred dollars a month in the last two years. We went from four hundred dollars something to nine hundred something, so we're just fighting to keep benefits for ourselves. The thought of being able to provide benefits to your employees is almost secondary, yet to keep your employees happy that's a question that comes across my desk all the time. I have to keep your employees as independent contractors, for the most part, really to avoid that situation, and so I have turnover. They go to a job where they do have benefits. You know, same thing, I get women that, you know, I'm very lucky I have a woman who's retired, which is great, so she's willing to work because she has benefits from the government. But if I can't provide benefits for, let alone for myself, I can't provide them for my family. The reason our insurance has gone up so much is that we do not qualify for a subsidy on the current health insurance plan. We unfortunately make just over too much money within that gap. So, I guess my question to you is not only are you looking out for people that can't afford healthcare, but I'm someone that can afford it, but it's taking a big chunk out of the money I bring home for myself." CLINTON: "So is the policy that you now have one you got off of the exchanges." QUESTIONER: "It was on the exchange." CLINTON: "Well what you're saying is one of the real worries that we're facing with the cost of health insurance because the costs are going up in a lot of markets. Not all, but many markets, and what you are describing is one of the real challenges because right now, like with so many of these programs, there's just a cut off instead of what I would like to see, which is a kind of gradual diminishment. Like, people shouldn't just once they get to a certain income, lose all subsidy or lose all tax benefit or whatever else we could piece together that would enable you to make this more affordable for yourself. So that's something I'm looking at. I think that the affordable care act is a big step forward for the vast majority of Americans, but we have to look at out of pocket costs, copays, deductibles, premiums, and we have to make the insurance companies justify what they are charging because a lot of them are moving costs up without really explaining, at least not to my satisfaction, why that's happening. And we need more non-profit options for people so that, you know, that was the original idea but a lot of them got started and they didn't know how to do what they wanted to do. They had great ideas, but didn't have the back up. So we need to go back and revisit that. I'm also in favor of what's called the public option so that people can buy into Medicare above a certain age, which will then take a lot of the pressure of the costs because the argument is the costs go up because real world experience means that people are getting sicker or that the costs have to be spread. I want to get behind that because I don't yet see the data to support that. But, if you were able to move people 55 or 50 and up, who are the biggest of healthcare, into the Medicare program, they would have to buy in, but they would be buying in to such a big program that the cost would be more distributed. So there's a lot of things I'm looking at to try to figure out how to deal with exactly the problem you're talking about. And there are some good ideas out there, but we have to subject them to the real world test: will this really help like a small business owner or family be able to afford it. Because four hundred dollar increase, assuming you didn't have some terrible healthcare event, which it doesn't sound like you did." QUESTIONER: "I don't go to the doctor." CLINTON: "Yeah I know, but, I mean, that's my point. What could have possibly raised your costs $400? And that's what I don't understand." (Hillary Clinton, Roundtable In Sone Ridge, Virginia, 5/9/16)

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In The Past Clinton Has Blamed Rising Costs, Premiums On Glitches And Tells Consumers To Just "Keep Shopping"

Clinton Described The Soaring Costs Of Health Care Under ObamaCare As "Glitches." ABC NEWS’ MARTHA RADDATZ: "And we're going to move on to health care. Secretary Clinton, the Department of Health and Human Services says more than 17 million Americans who are not insured now have health coverage because of Obamacare. But for Americans who already had health insurance the cost has gone up 27 percent in the last five years while deductibles are up 67 percent, health care costs are rising faster than many Americans can manage. What's broken in Obamacare that needs to be fixed right now? And what would you do to fix it?" CLINTON: "Well, I would certainly build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act and work to fix some of the glitches that you just referenced." ( Remarks At The Democrat Primary Debate , Manchester, NH, 12/19/15)

At A Town Hall, Clinton Told A Woman To Just "Keep Shopping" To Avoid Her High Premiums. CLINTON: "OK. Well, first of all, let me say I want very much to get the costs down, and that is going to be my mission, because I do think that for many, many people, but there are exceptions like what you are telling me, having the Affordable Care Act has reduced costs, has created a real guarantee of insurance, because if you'd had a pre-existing condition under the old system, you wouldn't have gotten affordable insurance. So it has done a lot of really good things, but, it has become increasingly clear that we are going to have to get the costs down. And what I would like to see happen for you and your family is that if we can get the co-pays down, the deductibles down, get the prescription drug costs under control, that you would find an affordable plan on your exchange. And one thing that I would like you to do, and I'm not saying it's going to make a difference, but I would like you to just go shopping on that exchange. As I understand it, Ohio has the federal exchange, is that right, Joyce? Because they did not set up a state exchange. So you have the federal exchange. And to go on and keep looking to see what the prices are, because we have to get more competition back into the insurance market. One thing that I want to work on with my friends from Congress who are here is we've got the get more non-profits that are capable of selling insurance back into the insurance market. You know, Blue Cross and Blue Shield used to be non-profits. And then they transferred themselves into for-profit companies. And there was some effort made under the Affordable Care Act to get some competition from non-profit institutions, some of them worked and a lot of them didn't. I want to know what we can do, because if you could get a range of insurers, some of who were not-for-profit companies, that would lower costs. So there is a number of things I am looking at. And what I want to assure you and your family of is I will do everything I can as president, working with members of Congress where necessary, to try to get the costs down. But I do want you to keep shopping, because what you are telling me is much higher than what I hear from other families, and so I want to be sure that if there is a better option out there for you, you're going to be able to take advantage of it. " ( Remarks At Democratic Presidential Primary Town Hall , Columbus, Ohio, 3/13/16)

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VIRGINIANS SHOULD EXPECT PREMIUMS TO CONTINUE TO SOAR AS ANOTHER INSURER ANNOUNCED THEY WERE LEAVING THE OBAMACARE MARKTEPLACE

Humana Will Exit The ObamaCare Marketplace In Virginia For 2017

Humana Announced It Will Leave The Virginia Marketplace For 2017. "Humana won't sell Affordable Care Act plans in Alabama and Virginia in 2017, according to state regulators. The insurer warned Wednesday that it plans to leave some states, saying it's preparing to boost premiums in an effort to make a profit on sales of policies under the ACA." (Zachary Tracer, "Humana Echoes Obamacare Warning Following UnitedHealth Exits," Bloomberg, 5/5/16)

Thanks To ObamaCare, Skyrocketing Premium Rates Are Expected Next Year In Virginia

"The First Obamacare Requests For 2017 Premium Hikes Are Now Being Filed And The Initial News Looks Bad - At Least In Virginia." (Jed Graham, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% Obamacare Premium Hike," Investor's Business Daily, 4/13/16)

  • Investor's Business Daily Headline: "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% Obamacare Premium Hike" (Jed Graham, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% Obamacare Premium Hike," Investor's Business Daily, 4/13/16)

"Overall, The Average Weighted Premium-Hike Request Appears To Be 17.9%, Says Charles Gaba Of ACASignups." (Jed Graham, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% Obamacare Premium Hike," Investor's Business Daily, 4/13/16)

In Virginia, Nearly All Carriers Are "Seeking Double-Digit Increases In Virginia." "Consumers may be able to switch to cheaper plans, which might also hold down their premium increases. But all of the carriers except for UnitedHealth appear to be seeking double-digit increases in Virginia. A couple of carriers with a combined 40,000 customers, CareFirst BlueChoice and Optima Health, are seeking rate increases in excess of 30%."(Jed Graham, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% Obamacare Premium Hike," Investor's Business Daily, 4/13/16)

  • "Anthem (ANTM) Healthkeepers, One Of The Biggest Players In The State's Individual Market, Is Seeking An Average 15.8% Rate Hike For A Projected 190,000 Members, Both On And Off The Exchange." (Jed Graham, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% Obamacare Premium Hike," Investor's Business Daily, 4/13/16)
  • "Innovation Health, A Partnership In Virginia 50% Owned By Aetna (AET), Is Seeking A 16.6% Rate Increase For 61,000 Members." (Jed Graham, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% Obamacare Premium Hike," Investor's Business Daily, 4/13/16)
  • UnitedHealth Has Submitted A Request For A 9.4% Rate Increase For Its 6,900 Members. "UnitedHealth (UNH), which has dropped out of Arkansas and Georgia, is at least keeping its options open in Virginia. It submitted a filing requesting a 9.4% rate increase for its 6,900 members, according to ObamaCare enrollment tracker ACASignups.net." (Jed Graham, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% Obamacare Premium Hike," Investor's Business Daily, 4/13/16)
  • "A Couple Of Carriers With A Combined 40,000 Customers, CareFirst BlueChoice And Optima Health, Are Seeking Rate Increases In Excess Of 30%." "Consumers may be able to switch to cheaper plans, which might also hold down their premium increases. But all of the carriers except for UnitedHealth appear to be seeking double-digit increases in Virginia. A couple of carriers with a combined 40,000 customers, CareFirst BlueChoice and Optima Health, are seeking rate increases in excess of 30%."(Jed Graham, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% Obamacare Premium Hike," Investor's Business Daily, 4/13/16)

"Anthem (ANTM) Has Requested A 15.8% Rate Hike In Virginia For ObamaCare Plans," Which Is Actually Below The State's Average Rate Hike Of Nearly 17.9%. "Anthem (ANTM) has requested a 15.8% rate hike in Virginia for ObamaCare plans that cover about 180,000 members on and off the exchange. But that's actually a bit below the average rate hike that state insurers requested: 17.8%, as calculated by ACASignups.net, which tracks ObamaCare enrollment. The details behind Anthem's requested price hike highlight one reason why ObamaCare exchange premiums throughout the U.S. may be in for a big hike in 2017: the end of the three-year reinsurance program." (Jed Graham, "Why Anthem ObamaCare Premiums Will Soar In Virginia As Humana Bolts," Investor's Business Daily, 4/15/16)

Millions Of Dollars Lost On Sicker-Than-Expected Enrollees Are Forcing Insurers To Choose: Raise Premiums Or Exit The Marketplace

"Insurers Say They Are Losing Money On Their Obamacare Plans At A Rapid Rate." "Health insurance companies are amplifying their warnings about the financial sustainability of the ObamaCare marketplaces as they seek approval for premium increases next year. Insurers say they are losing money on their ObamaCare plans at a rapid rate, and some have begun to talk about dropping out of the marketplaces altogether." (Peter Sullivan, "Insurers Warn Losses From Obamacare Are Unsustainable," The Hill, 4/15/16)

Kaiser Family Foundation Health Expert Larry Levitt: "Either Insurers Will Drop Out Or Insurers Will Raise Premiums." "'Something has to give,' said Larry Levitt, an expert on the health law at the Kaiser Family Foundation. 'Either insurers will drop out or insurers will raise premiums.'" (Peter Sullivan, "Insurers Warn Losses From Obamacare Are Unsustainable," The Hill, 4/15/16)

Insurers Say They Are Forced To Raise Premiums Due To ObamaCare's Provisions. "Insurers have raised premiums steeply for the most popular plans at the same time they have boosted out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance in many of their offerings. The companies attribute the moves in part to the high cost of some customers they are gaining under the law, which doesn't allow them to bar clients with existing health conditions." (Louise Radnofsky and Paul Overberg, "Health-Plan Rates Vary Widely, But Most Popular Have Jumped From 2015," The Wall Street Journal, 11/18/15)

Health Insurers "Underestimated How Sick Health Law Enrollees Would Be." "Insurance markets are complicated. But the story of Obamacare's 2016 premium increase is actually pretty simple: Many health plans - even those with decades of experience selling insurance - underestimated how sick health law enrollees would be." (Sarah Kliff, "Why Obamacare Premiums Are Spiking In 2016," Vox, 12/14/15)

  • "Now Insurers Are Raising Their Rates To Make Sure Premiums Do Cover Claims. In Some States, That Means Double-Digit Rate Hikes." " This meant that in 2014, many insurers spent more paying out medical bills than members paid in premiums. Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska lost $9 million covering just under 8,000 Obamacare enrollees that year. In Colorado, Rocky Mountain HMO found medical bills to be about 36 percent higher than premiums. Now insurers are raising their rates to make sure premiums do cover claims. In some states, that means double-digit rate hikes." (Sarah Kliff, "Why Obamacare Premiums Are Spiking In 2016," Vox, 12/14/15)

"Next Year, The Combination Of A Sicker-Than-Expected Insured Group And The End Of A Temporary ObamaCare Program To Offset The Cost Of The Sickest Patients Will Send Premiums Soaring In Virginia…" "Next year, the combination of a sicker-than-expected insured group and the end of a temporary ObamaCare program to offset the cost of the sickest patients will send premiums soaring in Virginia, the first state where 2017 rate filings have been made public." (Jed Graham, "Why Anthem ObamaCare Premiums Will Soar In Virginia As Humana Bolts," Investor's Business Daily, 4/15/16)


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