Commentary

Editorials agree: Trump, Ryan & Co. responsible for faltering health insurance market

In case you missed it over the weekend, an editorial in the Charlotte Observer hit the nail on the head with its take on the latest proposed rate hike by North Carolina’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield. After explaining how the GOP is undermining current law and driving up uncertainty, the editorial put it this way:

“It’s one more example of how Republicans are working to sabotage the Affordable Care Act – even if that means hurting their constituents back home. Already, Republicans have gutted an ACA “risk corridor” program that reimbursed insurers for the losses they endured by taking on less-healthy and higher-risk customers. The GOP goal is simple: force insurers to hike premiums or leave the exchanges altogether, as many already have, so that an Obamacare replacement becomes more appealing to Americans.

Problem is, the plan isn’t working. The American Health Care Act passed by House Republicans would result in 23 million fewer Americans being covered by insurance, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis this week. The CBO also warned that the House bill would likely increase insurance costs substantially for millions of others, including those with pre-existing conditions….

In poll after poll, Americans overwhelmingly want to keep Obamacare or the core benefits it offers. North Carolinians should say so again if Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr have the courage to listen to them at town halls during the upcoming Senate recess.”

Meanwhile, the Greensboro News & Record chimed in this morning with a similar take. here’s the conclusion:

“Obamacare is expensive for insurers because they’re required to cover sick people without charging them higher rates. But it doesn’t force them to stay in the market while they’re losing money. Under the Republican replacement, they could raise rates based on pre-existing conditions and even the age of customers. States could set up high-risk pools for people with severe medical problems. Because many of those patients couldn’t afford higher rates, however, they’d drop coverage or accept stripped-down policies, reducing liabilities for insurers while increasing risk for patients.

That’s a far cry from what Trump promised as recently as January: ‘We’re going to have insurance for everybody.’ He guaranteed that pre-existing conditions would be covered, which is meaningless if coverage is unaffordable. He also pledged during his campaign that he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, but both the House-passed AHCA and his own proposed budget set a path for reducing Medicaid spending by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

While the president has forgotten those promises, he should remember his responsibility to uphold the law. The ACA is still the law, and it must be funded as required. The alternative is to see too many Americans lose medical coverage they desperately need. ‘Getting worse’ is never a desirable outcome.”

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