Republicans just dealt a massive blow to Americans’ wallets over Obama obsession

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A new study by the industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) puts the blame for double-digit health insurance premium increases squarely on the Republican majority in Congress and President Trump.

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AHIP estimates that Republican policies are going to increase premiums by 12.2-15.7% next year aside from all other expenses like medical inflation or runaway prescription drug prices. Republican legislative policy makes up 60% of expected insurance premium increases, which is a key issue for mid-term voters according to recent polling.

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These costs will land like a hammer blow to the American middle class who will bear the avoidable brunt of the estimated* annual $1,200-$1,570 health insurance premium increase. CNN reports:

Congress’ elimination of the penalty for the individual mandate — which requires nearly all Americans to have coverage or pay up — and the Trump administration’s expected expansion of two types of health plans that don’t have to adhere to Obamacare’s regulations.

Jettisoning the individual mandate penalty is expected to cause premiums to rise by about 10%.

Trump last year issued an executive order directing federal agencies to make it easier to buy two alternatives to Affordable Care Act plans… [with] lower premiums, but would cover fewer benefits — making them more attractive to healthier Americans who don’t need comprehensive coverage.

A new Wall Street Journal poll cites healthcare as the top issue for more than one out of every five voters and for 32% of Democratic voters.

That’s why Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer released a letter yesterday asking the Republican Majority leader to hold an open debate on health care in August after the Senate’s recess was theatrically canceled for the second year in a row.

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But there’s no way that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is going to spend pre-election time in Congress to reduce health insurance premiums, which is why there is a blue wave building in the American electorate.

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In that context, Sen. Schumer’s letter is less of a debate invitation, and more of a succinct explanation why out of every five voters is upset about rising healthcare costs:

After 18 months of trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and deliberately sabotaging our health care system, Republican policies have resulted in major premium increases for millions of Americans. This sabotage also has those with pre-existing conditions once again facing the prospect of denied coverage, increased costs, and medical bankruptcy.

Additionally, despite President Trump’s repeated assurances that drug prices would come down under his watch, one in four Americans still cannot afford their prescription drugs and pharmaceutical stocks soared immediately after he released his drug pricing plan.

Tonight, President Trump personally directed the Department of Justice to side with Republican states trying to sue away key provisions of Obamacare in court.

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If Republicans spent as much time fixing the minor holes in the Affordable Care Act as they did sabotaging public health, the entire system would already be perfect.

A blue wave of voters seizing the House of Representatives in November – and hopefully the Senate, too – is the only thing that can save Obamacare and all American health insurance policyholders from paying a lot more in premiums every single year.

Here’s a link to the original AHIP study:

* Estimate based on 2016 average family health insurance plan cost of $9,998.

Grant Stern

Editor at Large

Grant Stern is a columnist for the Washington Press. He's also mortgage broker, writer, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida.

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