President Donald Trump’s sabotage of Obamacare has led to skyrocketing premiums in the areas that voted for him, and some people say they may even leave the United States to afford healthcare.
According to analyses, Trump’s executive orders to sabotage the program disproportionately hurt voters in rural areas that backed him, along with middle-class voters who don’t qualify for subsidies.
CNN interviewed a number of middle-class voters in various areas of the country to see how they are coping with the looming premium increases and found that middle-class voters may be even worse off than some of the poorest Americans when it comes to premium spikes.
Dave McDonald, a 59-year-old retired mining engineer from Utah who now runs a bed and breakfast with his wife Lorraine, had to get an extra job just to pay for the extra $11,000 per year the couple will have to pay in premiums.
McDonald, who said he was no fan of Obamacare, told CNN, “When the cost of healthcare more than doubles, you have to do something.”
His premiums rose from $350 per month in 2013 to $1,320 per month this year. He may have to pay even more as rates in Utah are expected to rise 39 percent next year.
“Like their peers in many states around the nation, Utah’s insurers are steeply hiking rates for next year in part because they anticipated President Trump would stop funding a key set of Obamacare subsidies that help lower-income enrollees afford health care,” wrote CNN’s Tami Luhby. “Trump lived up to his vow earlier this month when he announced that he would end the cost-sharing payments.”
“Middle-class folks will bear the full brunt of the premium increases, unlike the 8.7 million enrollees who receive federal assistance to keep their premiums to less than 10% of their annual income,” she explained. “They were the Americans that Trump and congressional Republicans promised to help by repealing and replacing Obamacare. Instead, they will be hit the hardest.”
Chicago resident Heather Tamburo is already paying $1,200 per month to cover herself, her husband, and her daughter after a 33 percent increase, and the cost is likely to go up more than 30 percent on average next year.
“Next year, we’ll have to switch to doctors we’ve never seen and to a plan we’ve never heard of and will have to pay more,” the 53-year-old stay-at-home mom told CNN, explaining she preferred pre-Obamacare plans with minimal coverage that did not have such large rate increases.
Texas resident Laurie Ryan says she may leave the country altogether.
When Obamacare was enacted, the rates for the music studio owner and her husband fell. Now they pay $816 each month, more than $150 more per month than they did before Obamacare for a plan with a $13,000 deductible.
Her insurer is expected to hike her rate by more than 25 percent next year.
The staggering increases have led the Ryans to consider moving to Mexico or Panama, where they have researched plans that cost $5,000 per year with a $5,000 deductible. They plan to visit Mexico in December to speak with other ex-pats who moved there.
“Spending $10,000 a year for health insurance that isn’t that great … we just can’t sustain that until we qualify for Medicare,” said the 52-year-old.