Republicans’ recently unveiled healthcare plan draws concern from health insurance leaders, who say it does not address fears that make them hesitant to participate in Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2018.
For one, the outline of the policy proposals did not mention anything about temporarily funding premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions, which groups like America’s Health Insurance Plans have advocated. AHIP still has not seen any policies that address its main recommendations for stabilizing the marketplaces in 2018, an AHIP spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal.
Insurers are also concerned that Republicans’ plan would end the ACA’s individual mandate without replacing it with another incentive for healthy individuals to enroll in insurance plans, the article notes. J. Mario Molina, CEO of Molina Healthcare, told the publication that if the GOP does not address such issues with the exchanges soon, many insurers—including his company—could withdraw.
“I didn’t see anything in there I would consider exchange-stabilizing,” Martin Hickey, CEO of New Mexico Health Connections, told the WSJ. He added that the insurer may raise rates as much as 40% or more in 2018, in part because of the individual mandate's potential elimination.
The Trump administration recently introduced a draft rule that aims to stabilize the exchanges, which includes tweaks such as shortening the annual open enrollment period and loosening minimum coverage requirements. Groups including AHIP and the Healthcare Leadership Council indicated that the rule is a step in the right direction—though critics argued it will limit access to health coverage and shift more costs to consumers.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday he expects efforts to overhaul the tax code and to repeal and replace the ACA are “going to be a Republican-only exercise,” according to the Associated Press.
McConnell had previously criticized Democrats for pushing through the ACA without any Republican votes, the article pointed out, though he now blames Congress’ polarization on Democrats’ inability to accept that Donald Trump won the election.