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Americans Question 'Affordable' Part of Affordable Care Act

12-15-2016
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The Affordable Care Act is no longer very affordable for most Americans, highlighted in a recent article by PhillyVoice.com

A recent study released Thursday reports that premium hikes will add $10 billion to taxpayers' tab next year.

The analysis from the Center for Health and Economy comes as the Republican-led Congress prepares to repeal "Obamacare" and replace it with an alternative. 

The study shows the cost of premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act will increase by $9.8 billion next year, rising from $32.8 billion to $42.6 billion. 

This increases the average monthly subsidy by $76. 

More than eight in 10 consumers who buy private health insurance through HealthCare.gov and state markets get tax credits from the government to help them pay their premiums. The subsidies are designed to rise with premiums that shield consumers from the increases, but the bill gets passed on to taxpayers instead. 

Before Election Day, the administration announced that the premiums for a mid-level benchmark plan on HealthCare.gov would increase by an average of 25 percent in 2017. 

Enrollment for Obamacare ends Jan. 31, a week after President Barack Obama leaves The White House. 

Reports say the plan could affect how Republicans design future subsidies that would be a part of their replacement legislation. 

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, founder of the Center for Health and Economy, says under current law, "you get a premium increase; you pour more money in."

"The concern is that will feed more premium increases," he said.

Paul Ginsburg, director if the Brookings Institution health policy center, said, "Since the premiums for 2017 are a lot higher than for 2016, it's no surprise that premium tax credits would go up as well."

Thursday is another big day for HeathCare.gov because Dec. 15 is the last day people can sign up or make changes to their current plan, which takes effect Jan. 1.

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