(CNSNews.com) - When Obamacare's fourth open enrollment period begins on November 1, many customers will face fewer insurance options and much higher prices.
"Only the sick people sign up. And that's why the premiums are going up, up, up," said Obamacare critic Betsy McCaughey, who is the former Lt. Gov. of New York.
Premiums will go up by double digits, she predicted -- "20 percent for the biggest plans in New York, 40 percent in Tennessee, and somewhere in between around the country."
McCaughey, the author of "Beating Obamacare," spoke to Fox News's Stuart Varney on Wednesday, two days after insurance giant Aetna announced it will reduce its participation in the Affordable Care Act exchanges next year, offering coverage in only four of the 15 states it now serves.
Both UnitedHealth and Humana also have announced plans to reduce coverage in 2017, and more than a dozen nonprofit insurance co-ops have closed in the past few years.
"On November 1, when the exchanges open, people are going to find very high premiums, double-digit increases, fewer choices of plans, because the big insurers have left...And bigger deductibles than ever," McCaughey said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday called it "disappointing" that Aetna has joined other large insurance companies in pulling out of many of the insurance exchanges. He renewed his call for a single-payer system.
“In my view, the provision of health care cannot continue to be dependent upon the whims and market projections of large private insurance companies whose only goal is to make as much profit as possible," Sanders said in a statement.
"That is why we need to join every other major country on earth and guarantee health care to all as a right, not a privilege. That is also why we need to pass a Medicare-for-all single-payer system. I will reintroduce legislation to do that in the next session of Congress, hopefully as part of the Democratic Senate majority."
(For the record, Democrat Hillary Clinton called for universal health care during her 2008 campaign: "I believe we need universal health care, no exceptions, no excuses, and I know we can achieve that," she said in remarks in Zanesville, Ohio on Feb. 27, 2008. This time around, she's promising to "defend and expand the Affordable Care Act.")
That's always been the Democrats' plan, McCaughey told Varney: "[W]hen you look around the world at what they call single-payer systems, where the government directly pays doctors and hospitals -- that's what he`s talking about -- you have two things, long waits for treatment and very low cancer survival rates. That's enough to make most Americans really pause."
McCaughey said a single payer system would "cost a lot," and she noted that the true cost of Obamacare, borne by taxpayers, has been largely hidden from consumers.
"For example, these plans that you see offered on the Obamacare exchanges, right, 80 percent of the people buying them get a subsidy up front, so they're not paying the real cost.
"But even more than that, the sticker price is also misleading, because the insurance companies on the back end are getting a lump sum payment once a year, also courtesy of taxes, right, so that they can price these plans, as high as the prices are, lower than what's actually needed to cover the costs.
"And the reason the costs are so high is that the law requires that you sell these plans to healthy people and very sick people at the same price. Well, 5 percent of the people in this country consume 50 percent of the health care.
"So, most healthy people know, I`m not going to go in and pay that price. Only the sick people sign up. And that's why the premiums are going up, up, up, plus the lump sum payments to insurers end this year."
Varney told McCaughey that more Americans will drop their Obamacare coverage as it becomes more unaffordable.
"Oh, yes. That`s exactly what's going to happen," she agreed.