Obamacare Price Hikes Put Public Option Back in Play

Obamacare is in trouble. With just two weeks to go before Election Day, the White House announced Monday that premiums on the healthcare law's state-level exchanges will increase by an average of 22 percent next year.

Premiums on the federal exchanges will jump an average of 25 percent.

Yikes...

All this comes, of course, after three major healthcare companies almost entirely pulled out of the exchanges because they said they couldn't afford all the sick people who were signing up for coverage.

As a result of these dropouts, 1 in 5 Americans looking to buy insurance on the exchanges have only one healthcare provider to choose from.

That's right -- one.

And while next year's premium hikes will be somewhat moderated by the often very generous subsidies Obamacare provides, there's still a sense out there that this isn't just a bump in the road but instead a preview of dark days to come for healthcare reform.

Of course, Republicans screaming about a death spiral are being disingenuous -- they've never had a healthcare reform plan and still don't have one 5 years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law -- but there is some truth to the Obamacare freak out.

For all the good things it does -- like do away with discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions -- the law still keeps in place the for-profit health insurance system, the root cause of most of our problems.

The most likely scenario to come out of this latest batch of Obamacare bad news is a few tweaks here and there, but that's not going to do much in the long run.

We have two choices here: we can either create a public option to inject some real competition into the market place, or we can work towards single-payer, i.e. Medicare-for-all.

Repeal is not an option, not when Obamacare is already in place and so many people have benefited and continue to benefit from it.

We can, however, use it as baseline to move forward.

But are Republicans willing to accept this reality?

That's the question.

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