Republicans’ Insidious Undermining of the Affordable Care Act
Newly-elected Donald Trump asserted that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be repealed on day one of his administration. Ten months and numerous close votes later, the ACA remains the law of the land. Nonetheless, the Trump administration and its Republican allies in Congress have been relentless in their efforts to destroy the Act from within, and all of us who support health insurance access at reasonable cost cannot let them go unchallenged. Their strategy is sophisticated and multifaceted. And Republicans in Washington and in Virginia have been complicit with this strategy by their deafening silence.
If You Can’t Win The Votes, Sabotage the Market
Trump’s consistent threat to withhold the subsidies (CSRs) which allow insurance companies to keep premium increases to a minimum became reality last week with his Executive Order. The result should surprise no one; faced with unpredictable markets and increasing costs, health insurance companies will either abandon offering coverage or increase premiums to cover their risk. The no-subsidy threat alone has had serious effects. In Virginia, for example, Anthem pulled out of the marketplace in August, leaving more than 60 jurisdictions with no insurer offering coverage. It was only after intense political pressure from Gov. McAuliffe and others that Anthem jumped back in, but premiums are expected to rise. Now that the administration is definitely reneging on federal payments, the reality will be devastating. Some 240,000 Virginians bought health insurance supported by ACA-mandated subsidies; their costs will rise and some will simply not re-enroll, thereby creating a so-called “death spiral” in the markets. [Read more…]