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People solidly in the middle class are the ones hurt by Trump's decision on Obamacare

Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

MILWAUKEE -- Please don't use my name, the self-employed businesswoman said. Customers might worry that her business is on shaky ground if they knew her situation.

Even though she earns a solid middle-class income ranging from $60,000 to $75,000 a year -- and she likes being her own boss -- she's wondering if she'll have to find a new job.

The reason: the cost of her health insurance.

She pays $606 a month, or $7,272 a year, for her current plan. And because she must take an expensive prescription drug, she hits her out-of-pocket maximum of $5,600 each year. The total: almost $13,000 a year.

Next year, premiums for that same plan will increase to $12,204, potentially raising her total costs to almost $18,000.

"When I got my notice in September, I kind of freaked out," the woman said. "It's not just an increase, but an increase that could put me out of business."

She may have the option of buying a less expensive plan Nov. 1, when the marketplaces set up through the Affordable Care Act open. But if she goes that way, she'll be paying as much as or more than she's paying now -- for less coverage.

The situation stems in large part from a decision by President Donald Trump to stop paying insurance companies for the additional coverage they are required by law to provide to people with low incomes.

That decision also is certain to cause additional turmoil in the already fragile market for insurance sold directly to individuals and families.

That's paradoxical for two reasons:

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