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This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their reports on the performance of the exchanges and individual health insurance market. These reports include the Early 2018 Effectuated Enrollment Snapshot, Exchange Trends Report and the Trends in Subsidized and Unsubsidized Enrollment. In the press release for these reports, CMS makes a few unfortunate statements and draws some troubling conclusions based on the data in these reports.

CMS concludes:

 Reports show individual market erosion and increasing taxpayer liability 

 “…Obamacare was failing its consumers.”

CMS even claims:

“CMS took immediate steps in 2017 to address market stability issues and to improve the performance of the Exchanges using the Federal platform in order to mitigate the deterioration of the individual health insurance market for consumers.

This is clearly inaccurate. Over the last few months the Center for Medicare Advocacy has continuously highlighted actions taken by the Administration that undermined the Affordable Care Act (ACA), depressed enrollment, and caused spikes in premiums.

To recap: in 2017, the Administration cut the enrollment period in half; slashed funding for enrollment assistance; refused to participate in enrollment events; shut down healthcare.gov during critical times; and refused to pay cost-sharing reductions to help consumers afford coverage. Recently, we have seen the Administration move to allow the sale of inadequate insurance plans such as Association Health Plans and Short-Term Limited-Duration Insurance. These certainly do not seem to be actions taken to “mitigate the deterioration of the individual health insurance market for consumers.

Fortunately, the American people understand the need for quality health coverage and at least legislative attempts to repeal the ACA have been rejected. In some very good news, the New York Times reports this week, “As health insurers across the country begin filing their proposed rates for 2019, one thing is clear: The market created by the Affordable Care Act shows no signs of imminent collapse in spite of the continuing threats by [the Administration and others] to destroy it.”

If the Administration is truly interested in taking actions to “stabilize the market and provide all consumers…with more affordable health coverage options” as they claim, all attempts to sabotage the ACA must end.

See the New York Times article, “Obamacare is Proving Hard to Kill” at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/03/health/obamacare-insurance-rates.html

July 5, 2018 – B. Belton

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