POLITICS

Survey says ObamaCare rate shocks accelerating

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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• Survey says ObamaCare rate shocks accelerating
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SURVEY SAYS OBAMACARE RATE SHOCKS ACCELERATING
Senate Democrats were starting to feel a little better about midterms. It was partly because of the White House publicity push claiming to have met enrollment standards for ObamaCare last week. But it was mostly because of a twofold strategy now on display: appeal to centrist voters by embracing some modest mitigations of the law while leaving President Obama to petrify Democratic base voters with targeted threats about what a Republican Senate might do. Let Obama, already unpopular with independents, play the heel while Senate Democrats get to adopt poses of concern and independence. Take that Nate Silver! But that happy thought bubble just got popped. Health-insurance premiums are accelerating at the fastest pace ever measured in a survey conducted by market analysts at Morgan Stanley. The forecast rise, largely attributable to ObamaCare, comes from a survey of insurance brokers around the country. As American Enterprise Institute scholar Scott Gottlieb explains for Forbes, the numbers are crushingly high (this chart highlights the spike).

[Among the states seeing the sharpest increases are several with competitive Senate races including: New Hampshire (forecast to suffer a 90-percent rate increase for individual plans), Colorado, Michigan, Georgia and Kentucky.]

Dems pay for premiums - Whatever any ads claim or however many talking points seep out of the White House, the most effective communications of the midterm cycle will be in the form of rate notices and cancellations from insurers. Just as flickering Republican hopes in 2008 were snuffed by the arrival in mailboxes of retirement account statements that revealed the magnitude of the damage caused by that year’s financial panic, health insurance rate cards will do the greatest damage to Democratic hopes of retaining the Senate. While Obama Democrats claim that success or failure of the law is reflected in how many people signed up for free or subsidized insurance, the real measure will be in how the law affects the insurance policies of the 85 percent of Americans who had coverage before the ObamaCare experiment began. If this forecast holds true and voters see insurance premium increases of the kind outlined in the survey, there’s no spin or strategy that can save a Senate majority.

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