Murkowski Responds to Health Insurance Rate Spikes for 2016

Senator Asks “Affordable to Whom?” Given Health Care Reform’s Price Hikes

Senator Lisa Murkowski today responded to Premera’s formalized plan to raise premium rates 38.7% on average in 2016, and MODA’s 25% average increase:

“From the time the ‘Affordable Care Act’ passed the Senate on a party line vote and Nancy Pelosi said ‘We have to pass it to see what’s in it’ as she pushed the bill through the House, I have been against the bill for one simple reason: math.  The numbers would never pencil out for rural states like Alaska.

“Last year, we saw premiums increase dramatically in our state because of basic market dynamics. Premera and MODA are still working to make this law work function in Alaska, and adjust to the difficulty of a bad law in a high cost, high risk economy.  Premera’s need to increase premiums by 38.7% in 2016 and MODA’s 25% to deliver on this flawed law will further strain the household budget of Alaskan families during an especially difficult time in our state -- and take us further away from the stated goal of increased access at lower prices.

“From day one, this was a bill written by policymakers from urban areas, created to address the circumstances seen in some places in the Lower 48.  But when it comes to low population states with limited insurance carriers and health care providers, this reform bill was never going to deliver on the promises of improved access and reduced healthcare costs. Only one realistic question remains for Alaskans when it comes to the Affordable Care Act: Affordable to whom?”