Republican attacks on health care drive CA premiums up by 30 percent

Southern California Republicans champion policies that ensure higher health care costs for Californians in 2019.

Health care is going to get more expensive in California, and the cause is simple: Republican health care policies.

Reps. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) and Mimi Walters (R-Irvine), two of Southern California’s most vulnerable lawmakers, voted in support of skyrocketing premiums.

With health care ranked as the top issue voters want to hear about in 2018, lawmakers who voted for higher premiums — and a higher number of uninsured constituents — are in trouble come November.

Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, warns premiums will increase between 16 and 30 percent in 2019. The main drivers for the increase are Republican health care policy changes, including cutting spending for the federal marketplace.

Middle-class families will be paying more, as the increases are expected to hit around six million Californians who purchase health insurance without federal subsidies.

Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee told the L.A. Times, “The working middle class that are not getting subsidies got hit hardest in 2018 and would be hit hardest in 2019.”

Those hit with higher premiums can thank Knight and Walters, who were at the forefront of enacting these policies, despite strong opposition from constituents and knowledge of the detrimental impact of the policies.

Almost six in ten Californians have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Moreover, more than half of Californians wanted Republicans in Congress to work with Democrats on the ACA. Less than one in five people wanted the GOP to exclude Democrats and pass their own plan, yet this is the path Knight and Walters took.

Knight and Walters have spent their short congressional careers working to dismantle the ACA. At every opportunity, these lawmakers voted for policies that would result in higher premiums, less coverage, and worse outcomes for their constituents.

Experts at Covered California said, “Going into 2017, the individual insurance markets were largely stabilizing in terms of enrollment and issuer profitability.” But Trump loyalists like Knight falsely echoed claims the ACA was in a “death spiral.”

Knight also claimed the ACA “discouraged healthy Americans from purchasing health insurance,” and Walters falsely claimed the ACA was harming Americans.

Yet since the ACA passed in 2010, the number of uninsured has dropped by 20 million people. By contrast, Republican changes to the health care policy mean 13 million people will lose insurance.

More than 31,000 of Knight’s own constituents will lose insurance.

More than 36,000 will lose insurance in Walters’ district.

And the reason they will lose insurance? Republican health care changes discourage healthy Americans from purchasing insurance, driving up premiums for everyone else, and pricing some people out of the market.

Knight and Walters helped create the real problem in the health insurance market, which wasn’t there before.

In November, voters may take it upon themselves to elect officials who solve, rather than create, problems.