July 27: Josh Mahony Reacts to Health Care Premium Increases in Due to ACA Sabotage

(Fayetteville) – Today, Josh Mahony, 3rd Congressional Democratic nominee, reacted to potential drastic increases in health care premiums for middle-income families due to the sabotage of the Affordable Care Act by Congressman Steve Womack and Washington insiders.

“It’s time to hold career politicians like Steve Womack accountable for the mess they’ve made in Washington. Womack has been a driving force in sabotaging the ACA and won’t stop until it’s completely dismantled,” said Mahony. “In general, rural and low-income areas will face the highest premiums increases. Arkansans deserve a representative who will fight for them, not one whose vote is controlled by money from outside, special interest groups.”

Over the past two years, the ACA has taken a barrage of attacks from all angles. Congress’ repeal of the individual mandate penalty and the current administration’s expansion of the availability of short-term plans are raising premiums for everyone in the middle-class. The individual mandate was one of the ACA’s mechanisms used to keep insurance premiums low. Without the stabilization of the insurance risk pool, experts predict that healthy, young enrollees may forgo health insurance altogether; leading to a sicker individual market risk pool and higher premiums for Arkansans.

“It sickens me to see premiums skyrocketing for middle-class, Arkansas families due to the shortsighted actions of Steve Womack and other Washington insiders,” said Mahony. “The Congressional Republicans’ tax bill gutted the individual mandate, which is estimated to cause insurers to raise rates by an additional 10%. The Center for American Progress estimates that a family of four living in Arkansas’s 3rd Congressional District will see a premium that is $2,730 higher in 2019. Womack has forgotten about the very Arkansans he’s supposed to represent and he’s making it harder for families to pay their bills.”

The Center for American Progress has calculated the impact of these premium hikes on Arkansas’s 3rdCongressional district. The estimated cost increase for a 40-year-old Arkansan is $860, $2,730 for a family of four, and $3,000 for a 55-year-old couple. In the most recent attack, the Trump administration cut funding for enrollment assistance by 72% and completely cut funding to the federal risk adjustment program, which could potentially raise premiums even higher than current estimates.