Democrats rushed to the defense of ObamaCare on Tuesday amid Republican attacks over premium increases.The administration announced Monday that the premium will increase an average of 25 percent for 2017.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest pointed out that the vast majority of ObamaCare enrollees receive financial assistance to shield them from the effect of such increases, and he said about 7 in 10 people will still be able to find a plan for $75 or less a month.
“That’s a good deal, that’s about the cost of a cell phone bill,” Earnest said, according to a pool report. “That’s a particularly good deal when you consider what options were available to individuals on the individual market before” ObamaCare.
Former President Bill Clinton also backed the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday, despite trashing it in a speech earlier this month, when he called it “the craziest thing in the world.”During a campaign stop today on behalf of his wife Hillary Clinton in North Carolina, he touted the fact the healthcare law prevents insurance companies from withholding coverage from people with preexisting conditions who previously could not get coverage at any price.
“All of the headlines are full of the stories that average premiums are going up 22 percent, but the subheadline is if you’re in the healthcare program, your subsidies will go up too, so the increases won’t be as much,” he said.
He also noted that 20 million people have gained coverage under the law.
“You’ve got one proposal [from] her opponent, just repeal it and go back to the way it used to be,” he said. “That’s a terrible idea. More than 20 million people would lose their health insurance.”
Hillary Clinton, however, did not mention ObamaCare at her only scheduled campaign rally of the day, choosing not to address the issue as she stumped in Coconut Creek, Fla.
Insurers have been facing a smaller and sicker group of ObamaCare enrollees than they expected, causing the need to hike premiums to try to stop losing money. The administration says this year is a “transition” and the market will stabilize the year after.
Those insurer exits have left more people with just one ObamaCare option.
“Twenty percent of Americans today only have one choice, and that’s not good,” Bill Clinton said.
Democrats also point out that most people, about 150 million Americans, get insurance through their jobs and are largely unaffected. The premium hikes mostly affect the 10 million people on ObamaCare.
Bill Clinton summed up the message on ObamaCare: “Hillary says fix the problem; don’t repeal the solution.