Obamacare rate hikes could save the Senate for the GOP

Providence has handed the GOP a powerful issue to use in saving endangered Senate incumbents. As Politico reports:

In nine of 11 states with competitive Senate races, at least one insurer seeks to hike rates for Obamacare customers by at least 30 percent next year: Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in Pennsylvania wants to jack up average premiums by more than 40 percent. In Wisconsin, three insurers have asked for rate hikes of more than 30 percent. In New Hampshire, two of the five carriers want to sell plans with rate increase above 30 percent.

The potential sticker shock — coupled with the likelihood many consumers will have fewer choices next year after major insurers scale back their exchange participation — creates a potential political opening for Republican candidates, especially since the next Obamacare enrollment season starts one week before Election Day.

The absurd practice of allowing early voting will blunt the impact of this issue, as Democrats well know, which is why they will be running major events to register voters and capture their early ballots.

Nonetheless, the Democrats own the Obamacare disaster, and it is hitting people hard.  It is tine to start generating ads in each of these states with sob stories of people unable to afford the deductibles, unable to buy insurance, and financially devastated.

If the GOP has the wit to act….

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Rick Moran adds:

You have to wonder if the rate increases in Illinois will help struggling GOP senate incumbent Mark Kirk who is trailing Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

Rates could increase by an average of 44 percent for the lowest-priced bronze plans, 45 percent for the lowest-priced silver plans and 55 percent for the lowest-priced gold plans, according to a preliminary analysis released by the state Wednesday.

Here's what those percentages mean: A 21-year-old nonsmoker buying the lowest-priced silver plan in Cook County next year could pay a premium of $221.13 a month, up from $152.42 a month this year.

While the majority of people who will see their premiums spike will be eligible for an increase in federal subsidies, there are about 25% of Illinoisians who aren't eligible. They will certainly feel the pinch.

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