After a decade-plus of disappointment, the end of Obamacare may finally come next year.
The Trump administration recently filed a legal brief in support of the 18 states petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Obamacare. The action has drawn sharp criticism, most notably from presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who called it a “heartless crusade” during a campaign stop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
But in its 10 years, Obamacare has driven healthcare costs skyward and spent vast sums of taxpayer money while still leaving millions of people uninsured. If the Trump administration is “crusading” for anything, it’s affordable healthcare.
Premiums have surged since Obamacare’s individual-market reforms took effect in 2014. According to data from eHealth (a leading health insurance marketplace), unsubsidized individuals paid $456 per month, on average, for coverage this year. That’s 2% more than last year and 68% more than in 2014. Monthly premiums for two-person families grew 73% over the same period, to more than $1,150 in 2020.
The larger the family, the steeper the cost. This year, a family of four with unsubsidized, individual-market coverage faces over $25,000 in potential liabilities, from combined average premiums and deductibles.
Without federal subsidies, most Americans can’t afford these costly plans. From 2016 to 2018, 2.5 million unsubsidized individuals left the Obamacare exchanges — a 40% decrease. This exodus caused the country’s uninsured rate to climb in 2018 for the first time in a decade.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare’s main provisions were constitutional under Congress’s power to tax — and ushered in a decade of rising costs. The high court is set to issue its judgment on the law again next year. Let’s hope they seize the opportunity to invalidate Obamacare — and make health insurance affordable again.