IN THE NEWS: GOP sabotage and “purposeful mismanagement or incompetence” to blame for health care chaos, Washington Post says

INDIANAPOLIS – As insurance companies prepare to file their preliminary applications next week to participate in the 2019 health care exchanges, the Washington Post editorial board called out the administration, congressional Republicans and their allies like Rep. Braun recently for their intentional sabotage of the nation’s health care system. The Post blames the GOP for the steps it has taken to destabilize the health care markets that will cause three million more Americans to go without health care in the next year alone, while causing double-digit premium spikes for millions more.

Condemnation of the GOP’s health care manipulations have gone nationwide, as Republicans in Indiana like Rep. Braun have also been called out at home for trying to strip protections from Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions.

From the Washington PostHealth care is still a mess. Republicans are making it worse.

The Congressional Budget Office, Congress’s official scorekeeper, released last month a bevy of new projections about health-care coverage in the United States. The upshot is that the nation still faces huge cost and coverage challenges, and Republicans are making some of the direst problems worse.

Why the changed prediction? Because Republicans are sabotaging Obamacare. Between this year and next, an additional 3 million people will go without coverage because Republicans repealed the law’s individual mandate, which will drive healthy people out of the market and premiums up by an additional 10 percent. Another 3 million will lack insurance after a couple more years because of this effect.

Thankfully, the GOP sabotage campaign has not totally crippled the law. The CBO believes that Obamacare markets will be stable over the next 10 years in most places. Even so, individual market premiums will continue to rise, by 15 percent next year and about 7 percent every year after that through 2028. Some areas of the country may be worse off. A quarter of insurance buyers currently have only one insurer to choose from, a problem that could be made worse if the Trump administration’s sabotage efforts compel more insurance companies to pull out.

The CBO warns of the “substantial uncertainty” still roiling the market — the result, in our view, of purposeful mismanagement or incompetence on the part of the Trump administration and congressional Republicans. “That uncertainty may affect insurers’ decisions to participate in the nongroup market in future years, and such withdrawals could threaten market stability in some areas of the country.”

An election year might be an inconvenient time for Congress to reenter the health-care debate and shore up the system. But when those who end up uncovered get into a car accident or receive a cancer diagnosis, the prospect will be far more severe than inconvenience. Bipartisan groups of lawmakers should be able to agree on market-stabilizing programs such as reinsurance, now. Republicans who voted for the calamitous tax bill, which included the individual-mandate repeal, have a particular duty to repair the damage they have done.

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