In the News

In the News

Union-Tribune: Issa's Vote Was To Rescue America from Obamacare's Failings

In The News
Jun 6, 2017
Note: "Issa took the responsible path, to support legislation that could stabilize or even reduce premiums, allow states to make many of their own decisions regarding taxpayer-funded health care, and to subsidize insurance for those with pre-existing conditions.
 
Issa took great political risks to try to rescue a failing health law. He took the responsible path and his efforts should be applauded. Now let’s hope the Senate can make the proposal even better and we get our health care system healthy again." 
 
Issa's Vote Was To Rescue America from Obamacare's Failings
San Diego Union-Tribune
 
American health care is the best in the world. We have premier institutions, research, and doctors who bring us the most advanced treatments — attracting people from around the world.
 
Fortunately, most Americans’ health care is covered through employer-provided health insurance. A smaller but ever-growing number have Medicare. Low-income individuals are eligible for taxpayer-funded coverage, leaving less than 10 percent with no coverage, or insurance directly through what is known as the “individual market.”
 
The Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka “Obamacare”) was intended to extend insurance to the uninsured group.
 
This goal gave rise to the promise that “you can keep your doctor” — a significant selling point because the doctor-patient relationship is very important to patients and key to good health care. Importantly, the law required extensive coverage and benefits typical of the most expensive plans.
However, despite billions spent to subsidize insurance companies and states, it has not been enough — insurers are increasing premiums and deductibles, and many insurers no longer participate after having suffered huge losses.
 
States received billions on the condition that they expand taxpayer-funded coverage to those with too much income to qualify for taxpayer-funded health care. Some states refused because once the federal funding ran out, states realized that they’d then be forced to cut important programs like education in order to continue funding health care.
 
Those federal subsides are now expiring and many insurers, who have been given more billions in subsidies to keep premiums low, have lost so much money that they are abandoning markets.
 
Additionally, individuals who do not secure coverage face financial penalties. Typically, that includes younger, healthier people who decided that it made more sense to pay the penalty than to pay for much more expensive insurance. That number is far larger than what was predicted by the Congressional Budget Office and further weakens ACA.
 
ACA isn’t just unsustainable, it is imploding. Insurers are leaving the markets in droves because they are losing tens, in some cases hundreds, of millions of dollars. States that took the federal subsidies to expand taxpayer-funded insurance, knowing that the subsidies were going to expire, are now screaming for more taxpayer money.
 
In markets across the country, there are now only one or two insurers still participating. For those who want to continue to buy insurance, premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed and are simply not usable short of catastrophic coverage, leaving individuals to pay most health costs directly — in addition to the high premiums. This “adverse selection,” which means the younger and healthier opt not to participate, further undermines ACA because those healthier participants effectively subsidize those older and less healthy or with chronic conditions. All of these pressures amount to a death spiral for ACA despite the intention to expand coverage, it is increasingly unaffordable.
 
This meltdown is what faced Republicans, including North County’s own congressman, Darrell Issa. Knowing that any attempt to fix this problem would be very controversial, many politicians would have taken no action, while the situation worsened. Issa could have chosen to leave the program as it was, in self-destruction mode. He could have allowed that to happen, and said simply, “We told you so.” Instead, he took responsibility to attempt to repair what was already failing rapidly.
 
Is the House plan perfect? Of course not. And it may very well be improved in the Senate. But Issa took the responsible path, to support legislation that could stabilize or even reduce premiums, allow states to make many of their own decisions regarding taxpayer-funded health care, and to subsidize insurance for those with pre-existing conditions.
 
Issa took great political risks to try to rescue a failing health law. He took the responsible path and his efforts should be applauded. Now let’s hope the Senate can make the proposal even better and we get our health care system healthy again.
 

 

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