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The big news is that due to rules deadlines, the U.S. Senate does not have enough time to repeal the ACA this year, so that effort is done, but the bigger news is that moderate lawmakers from both parties are, together, taking actions to stabilize the market.
Why is the market so chaotic?
There have been so many high-profile failures to repeal the ACA, which, together with the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the law, have generated tremendous uncertainty for insurers and uncertainty is the enemy of insurance carriers. So, they have done what any reasonable businesses would, either leave the market or price up to cover the uncertainty. This has and will hurt millions of individuals insured in the individual market.
How are Senators trying to fix the problem?
Starting September 5 and continuing this week they are holding several bi-partisan hearings on how to best stabilize the market. They are soliciting opinions from a wide variety of sources: insurance commissioners, hospital administrators, governors, insurance executives, patient advocates, proponents of the ACA and opponents. These Senators have a narrow focus – fix the market for the next year by funding cost-sharing reduction payments and by figuring out how to segregate and re-insure high-risk individuals so the pool remains healthy. If, however, the attempt to fix these immediate problems is successful, this bi-partisan process could form a blueprint for repairing a broader range of long-term ACA problems.
This new found cooperation between the parties is a breath of fresh air for the stagnant working environment around Capital Hill. With luck Senators and then Representatives will come together to pass well-considered solutions to the well known problems with the ACA. The other way sure isn’t working!
Keep in mind, until corrective legislation passes both houses and is signed by the President, the ACA as it now stands, is still the law. Brokers should advise business owners, managers, and individuals to still comply with all of the ACA’s provisions.
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