As the Obamacare repeal and replace effort raged on in Congress over the past six months, several Democrats and even some of the original Obamacare architects stepped forward to argue that the crippling premium increases from 2014 through 2017 were just a 1x market adjustment and that everything would miraculously 'stabilize' in 2018.
Well, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, that prediction isn't playing out exactly as expected. Taking a look at 21 of the bigger healthcare markets in the United States, Kaiser found that premiums submitted so far for 2018 are increasing at an average rate of 17% YoY and ranging up to 49% in Wilmington.
Now, we understand that the term "stabilizing" is somewhat subjective but we're not sure that rates spiking at 10.5x prevailing inflation rates, on average, would reasonably fit anyone's definition.
Meanwhile the 4-year rate increases from 2014 to 2018 are even more staggering...
And while Democrats continue to boast about overall Obamacare enrollments, the "off-exchange market" (i.e. people who make too much money to quality for subsidies and whose premiums are required to subsidize everyone else who does qualify) contracted by 2.1mm in 2016, or a 29% drop. With those kind of declines, it's only a matter of time until there are no more 'rich' fools in the pool willing to continue subsidizing a broken system. More from the National Review:
Also, MFA published the same report in 2016, facilitating a year-over-year comparison. The on-exchange market fell from 12,681,874 to 12,216,003 individuals, a reduction of 465,871 or 4 percent. However, the off-exchange market fell from 7,520,939 to 5,361,451, a reduction of 2,159,488 or 29 percent. In other words, enrollment is steady among those who receive subsidies but declining dramatically among those who do not.
Much has been made of the question of whether the individual markets are in a “death spiral.” Given that the on-exchange market enrollment is relatively stable, there is clearly not a death spiral in the subsidized market. However, with a reduction in the unsubsidized market of 29 percent in just one year, that pattern certainly looks like one we would expect in a market spiraling down.
Of course, it's all Trump's fault now...