No matter how it’s spun, the truth is that the health insurance industry is not primarily in the business of helping people; it is primarily in the business of making money. Consumers purchase health insurance expecting to receive assistance to alleviate financial burdens of medical care when necessary. The ACA was written with input from the insurance companies; they were willing to work with the government to make health care accessible to more people by making it possible for them to purchase insurance.
However, following the ACA rollout, Republicans in Congress sought to cripple it. The law was immediately sabotaged by withholding $2.5 billion promised to the insurance companies to help mitigate risk during the early years of the rollout. Faced with high payouts and slow uptake of healthy people buying into pools, companies took enormous losses. Without the federal assistance or ability to predict market stability, insurance companies did the only things they could to help business – change health care plans, increase premiums and drop out of exchanges. Instead of taking responsibility for their part, lawmakers simply blamed the ACA for increasing costs of premiums.
It’s impossible to keep the popular portions of the ACA (i.e., doing away with denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, extending coverage under parental plans until aged 26, no lifetime caps on coverage) without having healthy people in the risk pool. ACA opponents have consistently sought to destroy the ACA, rather than improve it. Republicans, including District 21’s own Elise Stefanik, are more than happy to tell you that the ACA is in a “death spiral” (which is untrue according to the Congressional Budget Office) but they won’t tell you the real reason why the law isn’t working as it was intended. Congress should be improving the law, not destroying it.
Eva Lau, Wilton