Obamacare death spiral

Maryland’s Obamacare insurers are asking for a 30 percent average rate increase for 2019, with some plans seeking hikes as high as 91 percent, reports Fox News.

The proposals Monday come a few days after Virginia insurers also called for double-digit rate increases. Democrats have pounced on the rate hikes to say they are examples of how President Trump’s health policies are leading to high premiums.

Maryland Obamacare insurers CareFirst, BlueCross, and BlueShield plan to raise rates for an HMO plan on the law’s exchanges by 18 percent, and 91 percent for an extended network, or PPO, plan.

Kaiser Permanente, the state’s other Obamacare insurer, asked for a rate increase of 37 percent, according to a state filing.

The rates must be approved by the state and must be finalized before open enrollment starts Nov. 1.

The state’s insurance regulator said the rates don’t reflect legislation passed by the General Assembly to shore up the insurance exchange.

Obamacare’s exchanges are on the individual market, which is used by people who do not get insurance through their job or the government.

Democrats charged that Republican policies such as the repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate are leading to the rate increases. The repeal of the requirement that everybody has to have insurance once you turn 26 goes into effect in 2019. Insurers are worried that it will take away a reason for younger and healthier people to get insurance.

“Republicans know they own the skyrocketing healthcare costs, but instead of working in a bipartisan fashion to lower the costs, they actively undermined our healthcare system and made the problem worse,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

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BY Isabelle Weeks

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I am a staff writer for DC Statesman and like to report on current events happening in the Trump administration as well as the political world.