Obamacare repeal efforts have included transformative Medicaid reform, but retained many of the regulations responsible for collapsing individual markets.
On Friday, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department released shocking individual insurance rate requests for the 2018 exchange. Highmark, one of the largest providers in the state, requested a whopping 20 percent increase on top of a 55 percent premium increase last year.
Somehow, the state Insurance Commissioner has dismissed the severity of these drastic jumps, optimistically noting last month that all Pennsylvania counties have exchange plans available with average requested rate increases of 8.8 percent.
While we should be thankful Pennsylvanians aren't in the situation of some Ohio counties that have no exchange options for 2018, it's ludicrous to interpret nearly double-digit increases, year after year, as stable, let alone successful. After all, major players like UPMC and Highmark are losing millions of dollars in the exchange annually – and they won't take those losses (without huge bailouts) forever.
And let's not forget that Obamacare was supposed to reduce premiums.
Final rate decisions will be released this fall, but it's a bleak outlook for folks who have suffered under an average premium increase of 7 percent in 2015, 16 percent in 2016, and 32 percent in 2017.
There's no question Obamacare's slew of mandates have done more harm than good for both the healthy and the sick. Full repeal is essential for getting a handle on ever-rising health insurance costs.