Lincoln, NE – Thousands of Nebraskans could be hit with double-digit increases — possibly as high at 80 percent — for their Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance premiums next year, thanks to Sen. Deb Fischer.
Fischer’s votes to cripple the ACA are especially magnified in rural states like Nebraska — which did not expand Medicaid coverage and is down to one company offering ACA plans.
In 2017-18 in Nebraska, the average ACA “bronze” plan premium went from $636 to $830, a 30 percent increase. The average “silver” plan went from $855 to $1,133, a 33 percent increase.
Kris Haltmeyer, a vice president at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, recently told The Hill that average 2019 premium increases nationwide will be in the “low teens,” but that there will be major variation across areas, ranging from the low single digits to up to 70 or 80 percent.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected that 13 million fewer Americans would have health insurance by 2027 as a result of the elimination of the individual mandate, which is siphoning off healthy people from the ACA pool and raising premiums for those remaining in ACA plans.
Meanwhile, Fischer has hauled in more than $45,000 in donations from health insurance and health care Political Action Committees.
“Thanks to Deb. Fischer — who has access to taxpayer-subsidized health insurance — thousands of Nebraskans who rely on the ACA for insurance are faced with ever-rising premiums and exorbitant out-of-pocket costs just to keep themselves insured,” said Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party. “Once she got elected, Deb Fischer fell in line with her party bosses and big campaign donors and turned her back on Nebraskans on a number of issues — including health care.”
Rob Robertson, the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s chief administrator, told the Omaha World-Herald: “This is a big deal in agriculture because it does impact the lion’s share of farmers and ranchers. It is definitely one of the top two or three issues out in farm country right now.”
The World-Herald story featured Kyle and Tiffany Lechtenberg, who farm and raise cattle near Spencer, NE. They said that when their son came down with severe stomach pains last summer, they had to pay their ACA policy’s $5,000 out-of pocket deductible to get him checked out.
“It’s been insanely expensive for our young family,” Tiffany Lechtenberg said of their insurance situation.
Said Kleeb: “So if you see Deb Fischer, make sure you tell her ‘Thanks — for nothing.’ ”