Public Furious With High Cost of New Health Insurance Policies, Lawmakers Say – Crunchtime for Obamacare Comes Next Month
OLYMPIA, Nov. 22.—Washington might have one of the best track records in the country as Obamacare gets under way, but the national huzzahs for a website that actually functions and the hoopla about big signups are overblown, lawmakers said Thursday. It’s a case where the numbers don’t tell the story.
What does, lawmakers say, are the phone calls that are flooding their offices as Washington residents express shock and horror about the insurance premiums they will have to pay when the program kicks in on Jan. 1. Washington has enrolled nearly 100,000 people in new health coverage, and amid the dismal Obamacare rollout the stat has been touted as a nationwide success story — a rare demonstration of competence in the upper left-hand corner of the country. But here’s what the number doesn’t tell you: Some 90 percent of those enrollments have been for free coverage via Medicaid. As far as the rest of the public is concerned, there doesn’t seem to be any rush to sign up for the new individual insurance policies that are the cornerstone of the program. Without a dramatic increase in sales next month, lawmakers say it is unlikely that this state will hit its target of 130,000 policies sold by Jan. 1. And what is more important than a missed sales target is the level of anger they are hearing from the public about canceled policies and skyrocketing costs — it might make you think they’ll ditch insurance altogether.
“The people I am hearing from are talking about their premiums either doubling or being more than that,” said Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee. “I am not hearing from happy people.”
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