Obamacare Increases Would Be About Zero in California … If Not For Republican Sabotage

Here’s the latest Obamacare news from the Golden State:

Consumers in both Covered California and off-exchange in the individual market will see an overall average statewide rate increase of 8.7 percent to their gross premiums if they renew coverage in the same plan for 2019.

[Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee] said the elimination of the penalty for those who choose not to buy health insurance had a negative impact on rates for 2019. Carriers added between 2.5 and 6 percent to their rates, with an average of 3.5 percent, due to concerns that the removal of the penalty will lead to a less healthy and costlier consumer pool. Covered California estimates the 3.5 percent increase added to the rates will mean Californians will be spending more than $400 million more on their health care coverage in 2019.

And here it is in table form:

California benefits from being a big state, but mostly it benefits from being a state that tries hard to run a good Obamacare exchange. And that would pay off if Republicans weren’t so hellbent on taking away health care coverage from the working class and the working poor. Take a look at the third row of the table. If it weren’t for the purely spiteful elimination of the mandate penalty, the lowest priced silver plan would increase only 1.7 percent. Adjusted for inflation, that’s zero. There’s no real reason that anyone in California should pay a nickel more for health insurance next year than they did this year.

But they will, because that’s how Republicans want it.