Obamacare premiums projected to decrease, despite Trump Admin hopes to unravel law

    The HealthCare.gov website is photographed in Washington on Dec. 15, 2017. Millions of people covered under the Affordable Care Act will see only modest premium increases next year, and some will actually get a price cut. That’s from an exclusive analysis bound to surprise ‘Obamacare’ opponents and supporters. The study of state data by Avalere Health and The Associated Press also found that insurers aren’t bailing out of the ACA marketplaces anymore; some are coming back. The average premium increase across 47 states and Washington, D.C. will be 3.6 percent in 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

    WASHINGTON - In his first week as President, Donald Trump said, “Obamacare is a disaster.”

    But after many failed attempts to repeal and replace the law, also known as the Affordable Care Act, it may now be more attractive for those who want to take part.

    A recent study by the Associated Press and Avalere Health showed that next year, individual market premiums are projected to increase just three percent - the lowest average increase since 2015 and in 12 states premiums are actually projected to decrease.

    “At its core, the system simply doesn’t work but that doesn’t mean the president is not going to try to make insurance as affordable as possible for people and give them as many options as they can,” said Alex Azar, secretary at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services in an interview last week.

    Azar also said the Trump administration is in some ways managing Obamacare better than Obama did.

    “The Affordable Care Act is broken it is not fixable. It’s not fixed. We need Congress to do that," he said.

    But many in Congress have changed the conversation about the A.C.A, especially with recent polls showing favorability at an all time high.

    “Part of what happened with the Affordable Care Act here-- is it became a real possibility that the people who gained coverage through the law would lose it,” said Matthew Fiedler, a fellow with the Center for Health Policy at The Brookings Institution.

    But parts of the Affordable Care Act have been gutted, like the individual mandate. Now some worry the new short-term insurance plans could undermine it even more.

    “The availability of these plans will tend to draw more healthy people out of the existing market and so it will lead to higher premiums for plans that do serve people with pre-existing conditions,” Fiedler said.

    He said the fate of healthcare for now may rest squarely in the results of the upcoming mid-term elections.

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