Republican policies push health care premiums up by 90 percent

Doctor with stethoscope

California will likely see health care premium increases of "only" 36 percent, while many states will see rates increase by up to 94 percent.

Health care premiums are set to increase by up to 94 percent in the next three years, primarily due to Republican policies enacted over the past year, according to a new report from Covered California.

This is the first study to “synthesize several other forecasts of the impact of different moves taken by the Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress,” according to the Washington Post.

The study, which looked at premiums for Affordable Care Act health plans, revealed 17 states that could be at risk of seeing premium increases of 90 percent or more. An additional 19 states are at risk of cumulative increases of 50 percent or more.

All remaining states will face cumulative increases of at least 36 percent, a far cry from Republican promises of lower health care costs.

The skyrocketing premiums will wreak havoc on the middle class, according to Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “The middle class will be priced out of insurance in about a third of America,” he told the Washington Post.

Lee noted the increases will probably be highest in conservative states. Most of the states at risk for a 90 percent increase voted for Trump in 2016.

Southern California Republicans have led the way on implementing many of these policy changes. In particular, Reps. Steve Knight of Palmdale and Mimi Walters of Irvine voted for the GOP tax bill, which contained provisions meant to destabilize the Affordable Care Act. “That change alone,” according to the Washington Post, “can be expected to increase premiums by 7 to 15 percent next year, depending on the state, and as much as 10 percent each of the following two years.”

Contrary to evidence, Trump loyalists like Knight falsely echoed claims the ACA was in a “death spiral.” In fact, experts at Covered California previously noted, “Going into 2017, the individual insurance markets were largely stabilizing in terms of enrollment and issuer profitability.” Then Republicans took over.

In California, premiums are set to increase by up to 30 percent next year alone. While state policies help insulate California from the more dramatic impacts felt by the rest of the nation, the steep increases are inevitable, and will be felt most acutely by middle-class Californians.

“The working middle class that are not getting subsidies got hit hardest in 2018 and would be hit hardest in 2019,” Lee told the L.A. Times in January. With Republicans in control of Congress, the middle class will continue to get hit hardest in 2020 and 2021 as well.

Since the ACA passed in 2010, the number of uninsured has dropped by 20 million people.

With Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, not only are premiums set to dramatically increase, but changes to the health care policy mean 13 million people will lose insurance.

Walters once promised to make health care “better” for Californians. Instead, her actions and the policies she and her fellow Republicans championed are making it far, far worse.