Ernst, Portman, Capito blast sharp rise in health care premiums

Joni Ernst

U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) took aim this week at double-digit premium increases announced for health plans purchased next year on

Premiums will increase an average 25 percent for health plans purchased on exchanges in 39 states next year, the U.S. government announced.

Iowa’s businesses and families continue to struggle under the “crushing weight” of the healthcare law, Ernst said.

“Years ago, President Obama promised health insurance premiums would go down under Obamacare,” Ernst said. “They haven’t. Now, the Obama administration cannot ignore the facts: premiums continue to rise and choice continues to dwindle. These rising costs once again prove the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is anything but affordable.”

Ernst is an original cosponsor of a Senate bill that would authorize a full repeal of ACA within 180 days. The measure would establish a six-month window to replace ACA with patient-centered, affordable solutions.

In Ohio, the average cost of health insurance premium increases have totaled 91 percent on the individual insurance marketplace since ACA went into effect, the Ohio Department of Insurance reports.

Millions of middle-class families in Ohio have already felt pressured, Portman said, by flat wages and higher costs of living.

“In Ohio, we’ve already seen health insurance premiums on the exchange nearly double since the president’s health law went into effect, with double-digit increases for this year,” Portman said.

Healthcare costs are rising while health care choices are dwindling. “Ohio deserves better,” Portman said. “That’s why we must replace the president’s health care law with better solutions that lower health care costs, increase health care choices and improve the quality of care.”

In West Virginia, the average monthly premium for the second-lowest cost plan will increase 32 percent for a 27-year-old consumer next year, the Department of Health and Human Services reports.

The sharp increase in health insurance rates is further proof that the healthcare law has failed to deliver on the promises of affordable, quality care, Capito said.

“Families in West Virginia and across the country that are already struggling to make ends meet and those living on fixed incomes simply cannot afford to pay hundreds of dollars more per month with this double-digit increase,” Capito said. “Yet these hard-working Americans are stuck footing the bill for this broken law. It’s time to revisit the many problems with Obamacare and pursue reforms that actually deliver the affordable care all Americans deserve.”