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No, Obamacare Isnt in a Death Spiral
No, Obamacare Isnt in a Death Spiral
By REED ABELSON and MARGOT SANGER-KATZ
MARCH 15, 2017
New York Times
A shorter URL for the above link:
In a tweet this morning, President Trump repeated that Obamacare will explode. Were resurfacing this recent article, which explained that growing evidence suggests that the market is from collapse it wont explode on its own.
If you listen to many Republicans in Washington, the Affordable Care Acts insurance markets are in a death spiral, imploding, collapsing or will fall of their own weight. Thats part of the rationale behind the new House proposal to reshape the health care system.
On Monday night, House Speaker Paul Ryan repeated this line, even in the face of projections that his plan could lead to 24 million fewer Americans with health insurance in 10 years. Put this against the backdrop that Obamacare is collapsing, he said in interview with Fox News. This, compared to the status quo, is far better.
But the new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office contradict this long-held talking point. According to the budget office, the Obamacare markets will remain stable over the long run, if there are no significant changes. The House plan would cause near-term turmoil, it found, but the markets would eventually become stable. The nongroup market would probably be stable in most areas under either current law or the legislation, said the report, using the technical term for the market where people buy their own health insurance.
Mr. Ryan is right that the Obamacare market has endured hardships. It isnt as competitive as many of its advocates had hoped, and shoppers in many parts of the country have only one insurer to choose from. Prices, which were lower than expected in the first few years of the program, spiked this year by an average of 22 percent across the country. There have also been some high-profile exits from insurers like Aetna, UnitedHealth Group and most recently Humana. Rural counties have been particularly hard hit.
But those recent woes are not the same as a death spiral, a term used to describe a complete market failure in which premiums spiral upward so only the sickest customers buy coverage.
Growing evidence suggests that the markets are far from collapse. Because of how the subsidies work, people were generally shielded from this years higher prices, and enrollment is steady. Several recent analyses argue that this years increase was a market correction, and that a smoother market would follow in the years ahead.
Many insurers had been struggling to make money but now seem closer to breaking even, said Deep Banerjee, an analyst with Standard & Poors. This includes Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blue Cross plans in numerous states and recently reported that financial results improved in 2016. The industry should do even better this year because of higher premiums and other changes the insurers have made.
But insurers say lawmakers need to make fixes in order for them to remain in the market and have praised some of the early steps taken by the Trump Administration to stabilize the market.
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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