One Colorado politician was unusually candid about the rising health care costs Americans can expect as the president’s Affordable Care Act goes into full effect. In a painful interview with The Daily Sentinel this weekend, Sen. Michael Bennett (D) basically said that consumers in western and central Colorado, who face the most expensive health plans in the country, are out of luck.
“I don’t have answers for Grand Junction, but I’m aware of the problem,” he said.
Because Obamacare lowered the threshold for Medicaid and allowed working-age adults to reap the program's benefits, it doubled enrollment in Colorado from 358,000 to 721,000, explains The Colorado Statesman. The financial consequences were not pretty.
As a result, general fund spending on Medicaid grew from $1.15 billion in 2009-10 to $2.67 billion in 2016-17. Add to that nearly $1.5 billion from the “hospital provider fee” and matching federal funds. Total spending on the department that oversees Medicaid has grown to more than $9 billion — fully one-third of all money spent by the State of Colorado.
Bennet is simply left speechless.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is also having trouble answering voters' questions as to why their premiums keep going up. At a campaign stop in Virginia on Monday, one concerned mother who earns a decent salary asked Clinton how lower income families can expect to pay for health care when she's even struggling to make payments. Clinton was just as puzzled as she was.
"Like, people shouldn’t just once they get to a certain income, lose all subsidy or lose all tax benefit or whatever else we could piece together that would enable you to make this more affordable for yourself," Clinton responded. "So that’s something I’m looking at. I think that the Affordable Care Act is a big step forward for the vast majority of Americans, but we have to look at out of pocket costs, copays, deductibles, premiums, and we have to make the insurance companies justify what they are charging because a lot of them are moving costs up without really explaining, at least not to my satisfaction, why that’s happening."
The solution escaped her.
"What could have possibly raised your costs $400?" she asked. "And that’s what I don’t understand.”
At least we all agree on that.
With Democrats now admitting they can't answer for Obamacare’s rising costs, will the issue make or break them in the November elections?