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UNC Expert: Trump's Obamacare Attacks Misleading

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is blasting double-digit increases in Obamacare premiums just as the administration gears up for the Nov. 1st start of open enrollment.

But a University of North Carolina expert says the attacks are misleading and potentially harmful.

Professor Jonathan Oberlander is UNC’s Chair of Social Medicine and an expert on the Affordable Care Act. He says Trump isn’t mentioning that federal subsidies will offset most of the premium hikes.

The big concern, Oberlander says, is that the headlines will scare away the younger, healthier people the exchanges need to hold down costs.

“It is important to remember that 85 percent of people getting coverage on those exchanges are subsidized, so they’re not going to feel those 22 percent premium increases.”

It’s also important to remember that Obamacare covers just a small fraction of Americans who don’t get insurance at work, or through Medicare and Medicaid.

However, Oberlander acknowledges exchanges in some states are in trouble, with health insurance companies rushing to pull out after suffering major losses. And not everyone gets a subsidy, Oberlander says.

“The people who are unsubsidized in Florida and in other states, and people buying coverage off the exchange. They are going to feel it. Again, most Americans, about 280 million Americans, this doesn’t effect at all.”

Oberlander says there’s a very real danger that much of the reforms will be dismantled if Trump wins the election.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.