Last week, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced that it is raising rates an average of 13.5 percent on its Obamacare plans for 2015 – an increase of nearly $700 for a 45-year old. BCBS is the state’s largest health insurer, enrolling nearly three-quarters of state exchange enrollees, and the only one offering coverage throughout the entire state. These premium hikes are on top of very large rate increases in 2014, when average premiums soared by 136 percent for North Carolinians, the fourth largest increase in the country. Premiums for young men increased the most, up 171 percent on average.
As President Obama noted in his prime-time address on Wednesday, America continues to face grave threats around the world. A comprehensive response to those threats – in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and other unstable regions – should incorporate America’s abundant fossil energy resources.
In early August, the Highway Trust Fund is expected, by law, to stop making payments to states to avoid a negative balance. In the past, Congress kept the HTF solvent primarily with general fund money – transferring $54 billion since 2008. But the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 stipulated that any transfer to the HTF now must be offset. Congress is currently working through options to keep the HTF solvent.