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Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota on Wednesday said the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare, was getting too expensive for people in his state.
“Ultimately I’m not trying to pass the buck here, but the reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable,” Dayton said, according to CBS Minnesota.
The law’s public exchanges, available to people who do not receive employer-based health-insurance coverage, have lost several large insurers in the past year, and premium costs have soared.
Mike Rothman, Minnesota’s commerce commissioner, said on October 3 that the exchanges were “on the verge of collapse” after some premiums were hiked by 67% for 2017.
Dayton echoed those same sentiments on Wednesday night.
“The Affordable Care Act has many good features to it – it has achieved great success in terms of insuring more people, 20 million people across the country, and providing access for people who have preexisting conditions alike – but it’s got some serious blemishes right now and serious deficiencies,” Dayton said, according to CBS.
The exchanges in Minnesota are relatively small: Only 250,000 people in the state receive their health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges, but the state’s struggles underscore some national trends.
Insurers have been pulling back from the exchanges as the pool of people signing up has been older and sicker than expected. With too few younger people signing up to offset that cost, some insurers have lost money and either shrank their coverage through the exchanges or raised premiums.
The Obama administration hopes to offset these losses through a push to sign up more millennials and young adults during this year’s open-enrollment season, which runs from November 1 through the end of January.
The law has become an issue on the campaign trail, with both major-party presidential nominees suggesting changes to one of President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievements.
Whether those changes can save the exchanges in Minnesota remains to be seen.