Obamacare Was Driving up Premiums Even Before Trump’s Decision to Stop Paying Illegal Insurance Company Subsidies

Senator Heidi Heitkamp Dave Wallis / The Forum

There has been a lot of gnashing of teeth among Democrats over President Donald Trump’s executive actions last week. Specifically his decision to cut off illegal subsidies for insurance companies selling individual policies in the Obamacare exchanges.

“This disheartening decision was about claiming a political win, not supporting American families,” Senator Heidi Heitkamp said in a press release reacting to Trump’s decision to cut off the CSR payments.

Of course, the problem with the CSR payments is, again, that they’re illegal.

Regardless, all this Sturm und Drang over these subsidies misses a larger point: Obamacare is failing and needs to be replaced by something which actually works.

To demonstrate this point, consider that North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread has just announced (see below) that he will not approve additional premium hikes for 2018 for insurance companies participating in North Dakota’s Obamacare exchange.

“This decision was made in order to protect the 22,000 covered North Dakotans who have coverage from an individual insurance policy that is off of the federal marketplace along with those on the exchange who do not receive the subsidy,” Godfread said in a statement to the insurance companies.

But the key word in all this is “additional.” Because, even before President Trump’s actions, North Dakotans were already going to see big hikes in their premiums. Here’s what was already approved by Godfread’s office for premium increases next year (note that Medica has since withdrawn from the exchange):

This political wrestling match over the CSR subsidies ignores the larger point, which is that premiums were already skyrocketing under Obamacare.

Partisan liberals like Senator Heitkamp, who have steadfastly resisted Republican efforts at reforms despite paying lip service to bipartisanship, are using Trump’s actions as a distraction.

Here is Godfread’s full release:

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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