The Morning Jolt

Remember, Democrats Lied to You About Lowering Your Insurance Premiums.

In a normal year, this news would doom the Democrats:

Insurers are raising the 2017 premiums for a popular and significant group of health plans sold through by an average of 25 percent, more than triple the increase for this year, according to new government figures.

The spike in average rates for the 38 states that rely on the federal marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act was announced by federal health officials on Monday. The figures serve broadly to confirm what has become evident piecemeal in recent months: Prompted by a burden of unexpectedly sick ACA customers, some insurers are dropping out while many remaining companies are struggling to cover their costs.

President Obama, June 6, 2009:

If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.

And here he is in 2012, when the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate:

If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance — this law will only make it more secure and more affordable. Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive. They can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions. They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick. They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason. 

Lie, lie, lie. If he had been honest — you can’t keep your plan, you can’t keep your doctor, and your premiums, deductibles, and copays will go up, way up in some cases — that bill never would have passed. And if he had been honest on the campaign trail in 2012 — that by the end of his presidency, your premiums will be way higher than they were before the took office — he probably wouldn’t have been reelected, either.

The average premium for a family in an employer-sponsored plan in 2008 was $12,680. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, for 2016, annual premiums for an average family are now beyond $17,500.

“The president recently compared Obamacare to a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and he’s right: this disastrous law is blowing up,” declared House Speaker Paul Ryan in a statement, offering the zinger of the week. “But at least you can return the phone. Families are stuck paying these higher premiums, and Democrats only want to double down on Obamacare. There is a better way. Republicans are offering a plan to repeal Obamacare, and replace it with real, patient-centered solutions that fit your needs and your budget. We don’t have to accept this kind of sticker shock.”

Great Time to Focus on a New Hotel, Huh?

Tomorrow is Wednesday, October 26, just 13 days to Election Day. The pressure is on. No doubt that at this point, money and manpower are important, but the most valuable resource a campaign has in these final days is time — particularly the candidate’s time. He can only be in one place at one time, addressing one concern at a time. Where will the Republican presidential nominee be, less than two weeks from the day that selects the commander-in-chief?

Donald Trump will be in Washington, D.C. for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Trump International Hotel. (Later in the day, Trump will hold a rally in Kinston, North Carolina.)

Why should anyone take his campaign seriously when the candidate obviously doesn’t?

It’s much less important than the question of the presidency, but there’s some evidence that the campaign may bring about the end of Trump hotels — or at least Trump’s name hanging above the door.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has promoted his namesake business, holding events at Trump-branded hotels and golf courses from Scotland to Florida. As the race approaches its conclusion amid a torrent of controversy, his company is launching a new brand that won’t carry his name.

Scion, a line of hotels that will target younger clients, was unveiled last month in a press release that quoted three different Trump Organization executives, but not the candidate.

Since entering the race last year, Trump has offended groups including Mexicans, Muslims, the disabled and veterans. A video from 2005 that showed him bragging about making lewd advances on women prompted almost a dozen to say he’d harassed them — claims that he strongly denies. Those associations will make corporate clients less likely to book Trump-branded properties, said Bruce Himelstein, a former chief marketing officer for Loews and Ritz-Carlton hotels.

 “He’s now a polarizing figure. When he was putting his hotels together, he wasn’t,” said Mr. Himelstein, now a consultant. “There’s definitely an impact.”

The Trump hotel chain insists that the Scion brand won’t replace the Trump brand, emphasizing that Trump Hotels are luxury properties, a tier above where Scion is aimed.

It’s also worth remembering that a lot of buildings that have “Trump” in their name aren’t actually owned by him. He either owns a minority share, owns a portion of the retail space, or simply sold the rights to use his name.

For Once, We Need Some New Polls in Idaho

We have almost no polling of the presidential race in Idaho, and most years, that wouldn’t be a big deal. It’s a deep red, heavily-Republican state. But this year, there’s at least an outside chance that the Gem State could be competitive.

Independent conservative Evan McMullin is in the hunt in Utah — either narrowly behind Donald Trump or narrowly ahead, depending on the poll. McMullin’s appeal isn’t merely religious, but he’s Mormon, and 60 percent of Utah residents are Mormon.

About 24 percent of Idaho residents are Mormon. McMullin has made multiple visits to the state, and he’s on the ballot in Idaho. And Donald Trump got only 28 percent in the Idaho GOP presidential primary. Ted Cruz won with a bit more than 45 percent. 

A poll in early September had Trump ahead, 44 percent to Hillary Clinton’s 25 percent, with Gary Johnson at 19 percent and Jill Stein at 7 percent. McMullin wasn’t even listed as an option.

Maybe he’s still in single digits. Or maybe he’s seeing a surge like in Utah. Could somebody call up a couple hundred likely voters and check?

ADDENDA: I’ll be appearing on NR’s Facebook page live, at the traditional time and place, Tuesdays at 2.


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