What’s Congress up to? Destroying Obamacare for North Carolinians
The Republicans in Congress are actively working to sabotage Obamacare and pass Trumpcare, which would lead to over 23 million people losing their health coverage. The Trump administration has said they may eliminate cost-sharing subsidies, which keep people’s premiums down, which led to North Carolina’s biggest health insurance provider to claim they may increase their rates 23%. Under Obamacare, with the cost-sharing subsidies, Blue Cross Blue Shield predicted their premium increase would only be 8.8%. Trumpcare is clearly a disaster for all Americans, especially North Carolinians.
It’s one more example of how Republicans are working to sabotage the Affordable Care Act – even if that means hurting their constituents back home. Already, Republicans have gutted an ACA “risk corridor” program that reimbursed insurers for the losses they endured by taking on less-healthy and higher-risk customers. The GOP goal is simple: force insurers to hike premiums or leave the exchanges altogether, as many already have, so that an Obamacare replacement becomes more appealing to Americans.
Problem is, the plan isn’t working. The American Health Care Act passed by House Republicans would result in 23 million fewer Americans being covered by insurance, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis this week. The CBO also warned that the House bill would likely increase insurance costs substantially for millions of others, including those with pre-existing conditions.
This editorial board has said often that the better path for Americans is for Congress to fix Obamacare’s flaws, not replace it with an inferior alternative. Guaranteeing cost-sharing subsidies and restoring risk corridor payments would go a long way toward bringing insurers back to Obamacare exchanges. It’s worth noting that Blue Cross also said this week that the exchange was stabilizing because more healthy people were signing up.
In poll after poll, Americans overwhelmingly want to keep Obamacare or the core benefits it offers. North Carolinians should say so again if Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr have the courage to listen to them at town halls during the upcoming Senate recess.