GOP sabotage sends health care premiums skyrocketing in yet another state

Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan

Republicans are still trying to blow up Obamacare, and it's hurting Americans across the country.

Thanks to the GOP’s relentless attempt to undercut and sabotage Obamacare, Washington now becomes the second state in recent weeks to grapple with proposed spikes in insurance premiums. Last month, Covered California announced a proposed 11 percent increase in premiums, mostly due to Republican sabotage efforts.

Those huge annual increases are directly caused by the GOP’s agenda of blocking Democratic attempts to provide affordable health care.

Eleven health insurers have filed their health plans for Washington state’s 2019 individual and family health insurance market. The proposed rate increases for the various plans vary from 1 percent up to 30 percent, with consumers facing an average rate boost of 19 percent next year.

The increases requested are not necessarily what Washington officials will eventually approve.

Still, why the appeal for huge spikes in premiums?

“There’s still a great deal of uncertainty in individual markets across the country, fueled by the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act,” said Washington’s Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Instead of getting behind solutions that shore up these markets, the administration seems solely focused on undermining our health insurance system.”

Incredibly, conservative groups are still pressuring Republicans to hatch yet another plan to try to repeal Obamacare entirely.

But the political tide is turning.

Last week, Virginia’s Senate approved Medicaid expansion, becoming the 33rd state to adopt the Obamacare program. The expansion, which was stridently opposed by the White House, is expected to cover as many as 400,000 people in the commonwealth.

Republicans in Virginia had long opposed any effort to expand Medicaid in the state. So what happened? Last year’s Virginia election cycle happened — when statehouse Republicans were badly defeated.

After newly elected Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam was sworn in this year, he was able to win over key Republican votes in favor of the move.

In terms of the politics during the midterm cycle and escalating health care premiums courtesy of the GOP, Obamacare itself just becomes more and more popular with voters.

“For the first election cycle since its passage, a majority of the public now approves of President Obama’s signature health care law, and Democrats enjoy a sizable advantage over the GOP on handling related issues,” HuffPost recently reported.

Yet the GOP remains committed to dismantling affordable health care.