Tuesday, June 20, 2017

That means it's working

Deploy Jonathan Gruber to talk Iowa off the ledge.  Hot Air: "Iowa’s Last Obamacare Insurer Asks For 43% Rate Increase For 2018."  Here's the Iowa insurance commissioner explaining what's what:
"We are concerned that Iowa has hit a point within our market's collapse that a 43% rate increase will drive healthier, younger, and middle aged individuals out of the market. Iowa's individual market remains unsustainable and needs a fix from Congress. Iowa will continue to move forward with the proposed stopgap measure."
But if younger and healthier Americans are driven out of the system that will only drive up premiums even more in the future!  It's like the system is in a terminal downward trajectory, similar to the out-of-control gyrations of a plane going down.

Something like that.


Otto Pocket said...

Yes, it is astonishing what can be accomplished by threatening to stop payment of cost-sharing reductions to insurers while simultaneously not enforcing the penalty fee on the uninsured. Then telling the insurers that it's just a bluff and you'll continue to pay CSRs and enforce the penalty. But only after the insurers publicly endorsed the House's Trumpcare bill. Which they did not.

It's like the system is in a terminal downward trajectory, similar to the out-of-control gyrations of a plane going down.

It's like these sabotage tactics are going to speed up the endgame when total health coverage and full choice will be provided for the entire population under a central government agency, with all care funded by an ability-to-pay tax.

If only there were a short, two-word term to describe this single system for payers.

Eric said...

I think it's "pipe dream."


Anonymous said...

It's like the system is in a terminal downward trajectory, similar to the out-of-control gyrations of a plane going down.

The ACA airplane's in a death spiral, while Pilot Trump pushes the throttle down and keeps saying, "I rely on God. I rely on God. I rely on God."

Jane Goren, 62, is paying nearly $1,200 a month for coverage through the individual insurance market (her husband, 69, is on Medicare) and accumulating enough debt that her sons recently held a fund-raiser to help. For next year, her insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, has proposed raising premiums by an average of 22.9 percent, a spike it is blaming squarely on President Trump.

In North Carolina, Blue Cross and Blue Shield said it would have sought an 8.8 percent average increase, instead of 22.9 percent, if not for the uncertainty.

Across the nation, individual market customers like them are seeing signs of big premium increases, which insurers are largely attributing to the possibility of losing the federal cost-sharing subsidies and of Mr. Trump’s not enforcing the health law’s mandate that most people have coverage or pay a penalty. Mr. Trump has repeatedly pointed to such increases as signs that the markets are in “a death spiral” and to bolster support as the Republican Senate leadership rushes to vote on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act next week.

Pennsylvania’s insurance commissioner said rates would rise by 8.8 percent next year if the cost payments continue; if Mr. Trump ends them, rates will soar by 36.3 percent.

In seeking rate increases that average more than 50 percent in Maryland, CareFirst, the state’s largest insurer, said, “We have assumed that the coverage mandate introduced by A.C.A. will not be enforced in 2018 and that this will have the same impact as repeal.”

Even as Mr. Trump has remained coy about whether to continue the cost-sharing reductions next year — or even, for that matter, after this month — some powerful Republicans in Congress have begun lobbying for him to do so. They include Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, who urged in a hearing last week that the payments be extended through 2019. “The payments will help to avoid the real possibility that millions of Americans will literally have zero options for insurance in the individual market in 2018,” Mr. Alexander said.

Frustrated state officials have ideas for stabilizing the individual insurance market, but they say they cannot figure out where to make their case because they have been bounced from one agency to another in the Trump administration.

“We have trouble discerning who has decision-making authority,” said Julie Mix McPeak, the Tennessee insurance commissioner and president-elect of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which represents state officials. “We reached out to the Department of Health and Human Services. They referred us to the Office of Management and Budget, which referred us to the Department of Justice. We reached out to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.”