Minnesota’s Democratic governor on Wednesday said Obamacare is "no longer affordable to increasing numbers of people" — the latest sign of Democrats' growing concern about the law's rising insurance costs.No, the Republicans aren't to blame at all. Not a single Republican in either house of Congress voted for that bill. Not only was it an all-Democrat bill, but you might recall Nancy Pelosi's saying that it had to be passed before we'd even get to find out what was in it. No, this is entirely a Democratic screw-up, one of massive proportions. The Republicans are under no obligation at all to fix it. In fact, they've sent at least one bill to President Obama to repeal the law, but he vetoed it. He'd rather the American public have massive insurance cost increases, lack of ability to see a doctor, and reduced competition, than admit his signature policy is a failure.
Gov. Mark Dayton's criticism comes as his state faces massive rate hikes and shrinking competition in its Obamacare insurance marketplace next year. Dayton's comments also come almost a week after Donald Trump and Republicans seized on former president Bill Clinton's remarks lamenting Obamacare's affordability problems...
"The governor wants to make it clear that the Republicans in Congress are to blame for their unwillingness to make improvements necessary to make the Affordable Care Act more successful," Dayton spokesman Sam Fettig said in an email to POLITICO.
It "bent the cost curve" all right.
Update, 10/14/16: From Instapundit:
ED MORRISSEY: Minnesota Could Be the First Obamacare Domino to Fall.
As the Star Tribune notes, all seven of the remaining insurers in the state had threatened to follow Preferred One out the door without the massive rate hikes. Even with Rothman surrendering to the realities of centrally controlled economies, Blue Cross Blue Shield will still exit Mnsure at the end of 2016. The massive price hikes, Rothman said in September, were “a stopgap for 2017.” Foreshadowing Dayton’s announcement on Wednesday, Rothman added, “It’s an emergency situation – we worked hard and avoided a collapse.”Leave it to Big Government to coerce a market into existence, where individuals are required to buy a product they can’t afford to use, and which producers can’t afford to sell — and then blame the free market for the inevitable collapse.
Avoided? As Dayton made clear yesterday, all Minnesota has done is postpone a collapse – and probably for only another year. The biggest problem for insurers in these markets is the unstable utilization rates, which prevent them from accurately calculating risk to set a tenable premium price.
The reason for that instability is that higher prices are disincentivizing healthier consumers from buying expensive comprehensive insurance policies as they opt instead to pay out of pocket for their minimal utilization and pay the tax penalty for non-coverage instead. Thanks to skyrocketing premiums and deductible thresholds, the likelihood of many consumers to have benefits applied to anything but a basic wellness check is remote at best, which makes the risk worthwhile.
These stories are now becoming so common as to be the norm, but there’s yet another tale of the Obamacare exchanges essentially collapsing in North Carolina as we approach the next open enrollment period. Keep in mind that health insurance is still mandatory under law and the grace period for not facing a hefty penalty on your taxes for non-compliance is over. Also remember that if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor and the Affordable Care Act was going to reduce premiums. Oh, wait… it was going to at least keep them about the same. No? Well, at least they’ll rise more slowly.
Don’t tell that to consumers in the Tar Heel State. All but one of the previously available insurers have fled the exchange and the sole remaining participant – Blue Cross Blue Shield – almost left. They’re sticking around, but the already high premiums they charge will be jumping up by an additional 25%. (Washington Post)