Republicans hoping for November Obamacare surprise
If rates go up for those who have Obamacare November 1, Republicans hope it can sway the election.
Under the health care law, plans are unable to choose who to insure, or how much to charge them based on their medical history. As a result, many plans enrolled a larger proportion of sicker people than they bargained for. But some of those losses were also a function of political wrangling after Republican lawmakers blocked payments that were supposed to help insurers get through the difficult first years.
The timing, though, is bad news for Democrats. Proposed rate hikes are just starting to dribble out, setting up a battle over health insurance costs in a tumultuous presidential election year that will decide the fate of Obamacare.
And the headlines are likely to keep coming right up to Election Day since many consumers won’t see actual rates until the insurance marketplaces open Nov. 1 — a week before they go to the polls.
“Any reports of premium increases will immediately become talking points on the campaign trail,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. “We’re in an election where the very future of the law will be debated.”