Published: Fri, June 23, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Government health insurance markets holding up, barely

Companies that sell commercial insurance in the marketplaces set up by the ACA stand to benefit in the short-term, although long-term questions loom over the stability of the marketplace that the bill would set up. The Senate is weighing a new plan and may vote on it next week.

Give people less financial assistance to purchase coverage, potentially putting adequate health care coverage financially out of reach for them.

The final assessment of how many Americans would lose coverage if the bill passes will come next week from the Congressional Budget Office, and some industry groups said they were reserving judgment until then.

"We are fighting like insane to keep what we have, but let's not lose sight of our vision", said Martha Livingston, vice chairwoman of the NY metro chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.

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States can seek waivers that would allow insurers to charge higher premiums based on health status under certain circumstances. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the House bill would cause 23 million people to lose coverage by 2026.

"What we're seeing is a deterioration in these markets, but the markets haven't imploded, they haven't gone into a rapid downward decline", said Dan Mendelson, president of the consulting firm Avalere. "It's hard even for policy analysts to estimate how fundamental those cuts will be". "It's time that Americans received #BetterCare", he said in a tweet.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said, "No surprise that insurance lobbyists are helping write this bill".

Dr. Karen Murphy, the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, said she was anxious about the overall weakening of the in-state health-care system as well as the impact on public health funding.

Bill Walker says the expansion of Medicaid to cover more lower-income Alaskans has had a significant impact and should be protected.

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It is our hope that as the Senate continues to discuss this legislation, changes can be made that will allow for a health care system that provides affordable coverage, care and dignity to all.

Heading into 2018, insurers are still anxious about attracting enough healthy people to balance claims from the sick. The bill effectively eliminates the mandate that people carry insurance or pay a penalty and does not replace that provision with any other incentive to try and get healthy people to sign up. Those that remain have been raising premiums by 10 per cent or more since.

"It kicks the can down the road", Mendelson said.

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