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Report estimating massive premium hikes points to GOP tax bill

The federal health care law is being phased in. States are getting ready to fulfill their obligations under the law.
Adrian Clark
Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg
Congressman Kildee presented a report from the Center for American Progress saying the GOP tax reform will likely cause health premium increases.

The marketplace increase for Michigan health insurance premiums in 2019 is expected to be $1,520, according to a report released by the Center for American Progress Tuesday morning.

The left-leaning think tank attributes the rise — which it say will also occur across the nation — to the GOP tax overhaul signed into law in December. Supporters originally hailed the bill as a way to get money back into the hands of the middle class. Trump promised it would even make health care less expensive.

But the bill eliminates the individual health care mandate, an Obamacare measure that requires most American adults to pay a tax penalty if they don’t have health insurance. When that cut goes into effect in 2019, analysts suspect many healthy people will ditch their health insurance, driving premium prices up for the rest of the population.

According to the report, Michigan families with incomes in the bottom 80 percent will see an average tax cut of $701, while the top 1 percent of Michigan families will see a tax cut of $57,700.

Michigan U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, said during a press conference to release the report, this makes higher premiums even more destructive for Americans like his constituents.

“Middle-class families are experiencing massive year over year increases in their healthcare premium— much larger increases than any average tax cut for working families would deliver.”

Kildee said state governors and other legislators need to stop undermining the Affordable Care Act and reach across the aisle to protect all Americans.

Ady Barkan, a political activist and ALS patient, was also on the conference call. He urged officials to think about the people this policy is actually affecting.

“The thousands and thousands of people who face higher premiums are also individuals who have lives and desires and hopes, all of which are being underminded by a government who cares more about the richest people in the country,” Barkan said.

The Michigan premium increases are expected to be slightly less than the national average rise, which is $1,990.

Maya Goldman is a newsroom intern for Michigan Radio. She is currently a student at the University of Michigan, where she studies anthropology and writing. During the school year, Maya also works as a senior news editor and podcast producer for The Michigan Daily.
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