Obamacare Insurance Rate Increases Prompt Renewed Call for Medicare for All

Posted Nov. 9, 2016

MP3 Interview with John P. Geyman, professor emeritus of family medicine, University of Washington and a former president of the group Physicians for a National Health Program, conducted by Scott Harris

obamacare

[Editor's note: This interview was recorded and produced prior to Election Day.] One of many October surprises in the 2016 presidential election campaign came in the form of an announcement made by the Department of Health and Human Services on Oct. 24. That announcement forecast that the cost of health insurance under ObamaCare is expected to rise an average of 22 percent in 2017.

However, government officials cautioned that the predicted premium increases for the Affordable Care Act do not take into account “the advance premium tax credits, or subsidies, that reduce the cost for many people. But, some families who make too much money to be eligible to receive the tax credits may find it difficult to pay the premium rate increases.

Premium increases aren't the only problem facing Obamacare, as insurance companies are withdrawing from the exchanges. The number of carriers will drop to 228 next year in the federal exchange and selected states, down from 298 in 2016. Some 21 percent of consumers returning to the exchanges will only have one carrier to choose from, though that insurer will likely offer multiple plan choices. Overall insurers are raising prices and downsizing their presence in the ACA exchanges as they try to limit their profit losses due to sicker-than-anticipated customers in the insurance risk pool. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Dr. John P. Geyman, professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle and a former president of the group Physicians for a National Health Program. Here, Dr. Geyman talks about the recent rise in health insurance premiums under Obamacare, reform proposals like the public option and his view that moving toward a single payer health care program, aka "Medicare For All," is the only sustainable solution to establishing an affordable, universal health care system.

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