I am retired, sixty-three years old, and too young for Medicare. My wife and I buy our insurance coverage through the federal Healthcare exchange. Wednesday, I received an e-mail from our carrier, Anthem Blue Cross-Blue Shield. It was titled: Anthem will Discontinue many ACA Health Plans in 2018.
In describing their decision to exit most of the exchange markets in Wisconsin, Anthem's note stated, "Unfortunately, uncertainty in the Wisconsin health insurance market does not provide the clarity and confidence we need to offer affordable coverage to our members in 2018." (underline mine)
In another statement, the company expanded on their reasoning, saying that selling into the exchanges has "become increasingly difficult due to a shrinking and deteriorating individual market, as well as continual changes and uncertainty in federal operations, rules, and guidance."
GOP politicians wasted no time. The same hacks responsible for the "continual changes and uncertainty in federal operations, rules, and guidance" started pointing their fingers elsewhere. They celebrated our inconvenience and gleefully blamed the law that has brought America's uninsured rate to historic lows.
Granny-starver Paul Ryan predictably said, "Because of Obamacare, many Wisconsinites will now have to scramble to find new plans and new doctors. " Ryan further stated, “This law has failed our state. Obamacare is clearly collapsing, and we have to step in before more families get hurt.”
Urine-fixated Scott Walker chimed in about Anthem's move from our state's exchange: "Obamacare is collapsing. Growing uncertainty in the health insurance market was created by Obamacare’s costly regulations and it is causing higher premiums and a lack of options. "
Jim (If Obama is for it, I'm against it !) Sensenbrenner posted on Facebook, "Today’s announcement that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield will be dropping out of the Wisconsin health insurance market is devastating to thousands of families in our state. It’s another unfortunate example of the ongoing failures of the disastrous Obamacare law..."
All is not dire. We are not in the mythical ACA death spiral that the GOP has been lying about for seven years. We will still have plenty of choices of insurance carriers in Wisconsin. In fact, of 3,144 total US counties, only 44 are in any risk of having no exchange insurer next year.
However, changing health insurance is a hassle. I will have to deal with a new carrier. I may have to change doctors. So will an estimated 14,000 other Wisconsin residents. But it is not the fault of the Affordable Care Act. It is not the fault of Democrats. I don't even blame Anthem for leaving the exchange.
We are not stupid. The ACA markets were stable until the Republicans gained complete control in Washington. They were stable until Trump started threatening to renege on the government's obligation to pay cost-sharing subsidies. They were stable until Trump's executive order to stop enforcing the individual mandate. They were stable until all of the uncertainty of Congress's mean-spirited attempt to rip the American healthcare system to shreds.
No, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield leaving Wisconsin is not the fault of the Affordable Care Act. As the insurer clearly stated, it is the fault of deep uncertainties at the federal level.
It is the fault of Congressmen like Jim Sensenbrenner and Paul Ryan, who have worked tirelessly to take heathcare away from their constituents. It is the fault of Sen. Ron Johnson, who said that the ACA is the greatest assault on freedom in his lifetime. It is the fault of our Governor, who has done everything possible to sabotage our healthcare. It is the fault of an incompetent President, who continues to cripple the law through his Executive Orders.
Republicans are in complete control of both our state and federal governments. GOP politicians have weakened the healthcare marketplace by their own purposeful actions. They created this mess. In an act of unmitigated gall,they are blaming the Democrats, Obama, and the ACA. Sorry. This is on them.