Sunday, Sep 23, 2018
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Obamacare is still breathing

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President Barack Obama shakes hands with then-President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

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Obamacare refuses to be killed, as reported last week by the New York Times, which said “the market created by the Affordable Care Act shows no signs of imminent collapse.”

Although the Trump administration and Congress have abolished the penalty for failing to buy insurance — thus removing the mandatory nature of the Affordable Care Act, plenty of Americans are taking advantage of the opportunity to buy subsidized health insurance.

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And insurers are making money doing so.

Of course, most of this is paid for by the American taxpayer, who subsidizes 9.2 million of the 10.6 Obamacare plans out there.

This is despite efforts of Republicans in Congress who, even though they control the entire government, were unable to agree on something to replace the Affordable Care Act. In abolishing the individual mandate, they drove away many of the higher-income people who were helping to pay for insurance. From 2016 to 2017, about 1 million people appear to have stopped buying coverage.

Brian Lobley, an executive with Independence Blue Cross, which offers plans in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, said, “the business has stabilized and we’re confident.”

Insurers in Pennsylvania are seeking average increases of just under 5 percent, according to the state insurance department. The Ohio Department of Insurance projects an increase of 8.2 percent in individual plans. Of Ohio’s 88 counties, about half have only one or two available plans.

In some states, rate hikes of 69 percent or more are being proposed.

Congress should respect these developments as the voice of the people and stop trying to undermine Obamacare. It’s the only thing many people have — including many people suffering from opioid addiction — in the absence of a Republican-sponsored solution.

And it is the best pseudo-system the government has to offer the country, until someone comes up with something better.

President Trump told a rally in Elkhart, Ind. two months ago that his administration would soon release “great health plans.” It was on May 10 that he said, “Wait till you see the plans we have coming out literally over the next four weeks. We have great health care plans coming out.”

The President needs to get behind a plan that doesn’t just gut what a previous president created but creates something superior. That is the promise he made.

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