Obama: Health Care Premiums Going Up for Only a 'Handful of People'

November 3, 2016

President Obama downplayed rising health care premiums under the Affordable Care Act on Thursday while campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Miami, Florida.

Obama spent time mocking Republicans for their criticism of Obamacare and then questioned their targeting of rising premiums. While Obama acknowledged there were rising premiums, he downplayed the soaring costs by saying it only applied to a "handful of people" who do not get tax credits.

"Well, now it is true, premiums are going up for a handful of people who don't get tax credits. That's important. We're going to work as hard as we can to do something about it," Obama said. "We would have already done it if the Republicans had helped, but keep in mind their alternative would have been no health insurance. That's what they had before."

"So the reason I point this out was you watch the press conference and what you realize is they got no plan," Obama continued. "They want to repeal because ideologically they're opposed to the idea of helping these 20 million people get health insurance."

According to federal government estimates, midlevel Obamacare plans will increase by about 22 percent next year, the New York Times reported last week:

The latest estimate from the federal government is that the average midlevel Obamacare plan, the most popular choice, will cost about 22 percent more in 2017 than it did in 2016. This is based on data from 39 states where people sign up through the website and some preliminary data from four other states and the District of Columbia.

CBS spotlighted that some Obamacare users in Tennessee are "really nervous" looking ahead to the 2017 premium increases, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported:

"Blue Cross Blue Shield left the Obamacare exchange in three major Tennessee markets, citing a loss of $500 million over three years. That leaves 73 of the state's 95 counties with only one insurer–and average premiums up more than 50 percent. Other major insurers including Aetna, UnitedHealth, and Humana have also exited markets in other states," [CBS correspondent Margaret] Brennan reported.

Former President Bill Clinton has even been critical of Obamacare, as he ripped the healthcare law last month before walking back his criticism days later amid pressure from fellow Democrats, CNN reported last month.

Speaking at a Democratic rally in Flint, Michigan, the former president ripped into the Affordable Care Act for flooding the health care insurance market and causing premiums to rise for middle-class Americans who do not qualify for subsidies.

"So you've got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It's the craziest thing in the world," Clinton said.