Day 67 of Gov. McAuliffe’s Obamacare Budget Impasse

HouseGOP2014 General Assembly Session, Budget, Health Care, Issues

Today is day 67 of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Obamacare budget impasse.

When President Barack Obama, Senator Mark Warner and other Virginia Democrats were selling the Affordable Care Act, they made a lot of promises.

They promised Virginians they could keep their health insurance plan. PolitiFact called that the “lie of the year.”

They promised Virginians they could keep their doctor. Now, even President Obama admits that might not be true.

And they also promised Virginians that the average family of four would see a $2,500 cut in the cost of their premiums.

But as the Wall Street Journal reports, an early look at insurance filings in Virginia shows that just isn’t true either:

In the first look at how insurers plan to adjust prices in the second year under the federal health-care law, filings from Virginia carriers show they are opting for premium increases in 2015 that will pinch consumers’ pocketbooks but fall short of some bigger rate predictions.

The new premium proposals, detailed in official filings to the state’s insurance regulator, show health plans all opting for some increases.

The filings show insurers’ planned increases easily outpacing broader U.S. inflation, but shy of the much larger boosts some critics predicted.

For instance, Anthem HealthKeepers Inc., a unit of WellPoint Inc., said it intended to raise premiums by an average of 8.5% across all of its individual plans, which currently cover around 110,000 people and are sold on the online insurance exchange set up by the health law, as well as directly to people.

The company says it needs to increase the rates to take into account the poorer health of uninsured people signing up under the health law this year and next, and their pent-up demand for services, as well as the costs of new fees under the Affordable Care Act.

Governor McAuliffe and his allies in the State Senate say Virginia should trust the promise of “free money” from Washington DC in order to pay for Medicaid expansion. But after listening to four years of broken promises, and with the federal government $17 trillion in debt, the people of Virginia are not buying.

So instead, Governor McAuliffe is using the state budget as leverage, threatening to take Virginia over the fiscal cliff on June 30 if he doesn’t get his way on Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. He is holding hostage funding for Virginia schools, teachers, roads, law enforcement, local governments and colleges and universities. His actions are creating tremendous uncertainty for local governments and school boards, and jeopardizing Virginia’s AAA bond rating.

Governor McAuliffe should drop his demands for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, compromise and let the General Assembly pass a clean budget that keeps state government open.