Democratic governors say they are nervous about getting the new federal health care law implemented but add they will be better positioned in next year's elections than many of their Republican counterparts who have resisted the far-reaching and politically polarizing measure.
Several of the 12 Democratic governors shared that sense of nervousness-veiled-by-optimism at the National Governors Association meeting Saturday in Milwaukee.
"There's some angst, and you can see that from the decision the administration made a couple weeks ago," said Delaware Gov. Jack Markell. "There's a lot of work to do."
The concerns of Democratic governors aren't surprising considering we've seen health insurance premium rate shock in states across the country.
Last week, the state of California claimed that its version of Obamacare’s health insurance exchange would actually reduce premiums. “These rates are way below the worst-case gloom-and-doom scenarios we have heard,” boasted Peter Lee, executive director of the California exchange. But the data that Lee released tells a different story: Obamacare, in fact, will increase individual-market premiums in California by as much as 146 percent.
Democrats continue to try to dismiss the evidence that Obamacare will dramatically increase the cost of insurance for people who buy it on their own. But on Thursday, the Ohio Department of Insurance announced that, based on the rates submitted by insurers to date, the average individual-market health insurance premium in 2014 will come in around $420, “representing an increase of 88 percent” relative to 2013. “We have warned of these increases,” said Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor in a statement. “Consumers will have fewer choices and pay much higher premiums for their health insurance starting in 2014.”
In Maine, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Washington, insurance markets are already regulated in much the same way that Obamacare will. These states force insurers to cover everyone, despite pre-existing conditions, and they oblige carriers to charge similar rates to younger and older customers. Despite these factors, it turns out that in Washington state, Obamacare will still increase the underlying cost of individually purchased health insurance by 34 to 80 percent, on average.
An Aroostook County resident who buys a health care plan on the new federal insurance exchange could pay $1,000 more per year in premiums than a Portland resident for exactly the same coverage, according to information released Wednesday by the Maine Bureau of Insurance.
You get the point.
Republicans governors who have been vocal about the massive costs of Obamacare have the advantage here while Democratic governors supporting Obamacare on behalf of the Party are likely to suffer the consequences for their support at the ballot box. It is important however to point out that Republicans who have helped implement Obamacare exchanges in their states, could also be seeing challengers. A new Rasmussen Report shows 48 percent of people want their governors to fight Obamacare implementation in their state.
Voters remain closely divided over whether their state should have its own health care exchange, but roughly half still want their governor to oppose implementation of President Obama’s national health care law.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 40% of Likely U.S. Voters now want their governor to support implementation of the health care law in their state, but 48% want their governor to oppose implementation instead. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure.