Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton came clean about Obamacare during a town hall this week, telling one small business owner that she has no idea why the Affordable Care Act has raised her insurance costs by $500.
She was pressed on the issue by the business owner during a campaign stop in Lorton, Virginia, Monday afternoon.
"I have seen our health insurance for my own family go up $500 a month in the last two years, so we went from 400 something to 900 something," the woman told Clinton. "We’re just fighting to keep benefits for ourselves. The thought of being able to provide benefits to your employees is almost secondary. Yet to keep your employees happy, that’s a question that comes across my desk all the time."
Because of the large increase, the business owner told the Democratic hopeful that she is forced to keep most of her workers as contractors, adding that many leave for other employers who can provide more benefits.
She went on to say if she can't provide benefits for herself, there's no way she can cover her family. She said the reason her health insurance has increased by so much is because she "unfortunately" makes too much money to qualify for a subsidy under Obamacare.
"So, I guess my question to you is not only are you looking out for people that can’t afford health care," she said. "I’m someone that can afford it, but it’s taking a big chunk out of the money I bring home for myself."
Clinton responded, "What you’re saying is one of the real worries that we’re facing with the cost of health insurance because the costs are going up in a lot of markets — not all, but many markets. Right now, like with so many of these programs, there’s just a cut off instead of what I would like to see a kind of gradual diminishment."
The former secretary of state went on to say she doesn't think there should be any income figure that determines whether or not an individual is eligible for an Obamacare subsidy. Instead, Clinton suggested the government should be investigating out-of-pocket costs, like premiums and deductibles.
"But I mean that’s my point — It’s like what could have possibly raised your costs? And that’s what I don’t understand. We’ve got to pick that apart to really make sure we understand it," a bewildered Clinton said.
From there, Clinton shifted the blame toward private healthcare insurance providers, telling the business owner that the federal government needs to "make" companies "justify what they are charging," adding that many of them are "moving costs up without really explaining, or at least to my satisfaction, why that’s happening."
She said non-profit organizations need to play a larger role in the issue, too. Clinton told the woman she would like to see a "public option" so Americans can sign up for Medicare above a certain age in an effort to reduce costs.
"Because a [$500] increase, assuming you didn’t have some terrible health care, which it doesn’t sound like you did—," Clinton said, before being interrupted by the woman.
"I go to the gym," the business owner said. "I don’t go to the doctor."
This comes after Clinton admitted last year that Obamacare has "unfortunate incentives that discourage full-time employment."
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