Republicans insist they must repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act because Obamacare is collapsing. The question that needs to be asked is: Which Obamacare?

The historical data on health care and health insurance spending available at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (cms.gov) clearly show that the general health insurance industry is in no danger of collapse. In fact, yearly cost increases since the law was enacted have been the lowest over a sustained period since the agency began keeping records.

So where is this supposed “collapse” taking place? Apparently they are talking only about the exchanges. Those, I would point out, do not represent the one-sixth of the economy Republicans wailed Obama was taking over. The exchanges serve just a sliver of the population, less than 10 percent, a small part of the ACA and a small enough market that solutions ought to be relatively easy to find.

Nationwide, increases of 22 percent are estimated for the average mid-cost exchange plans. While a large increase, subsidies mitigate the situation. Much of the increase is due to one-time events, such as the end of the Risk Corridors Program.

Additionally, uncertainty over the future of the exchanges has led some insurers to increase rates to protect against possible losses they won’t be able to recover in future years if the program ends, or to withdraw from the exchanges altogether.

The available evidence hardly paints a picture of a failed program. The only thing dooming Obamacare is Republicans.

Daniel E. Steffen, El Paso

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