On premium deadline day, Republicans poised to face the consequences for their healthcare bill

INDIANAPOLIS – No matter how high the premiums that Indiana health insurers submit today for the coming year ultimately are, or how many insurers remain in the state’s markets, Hoosiers won’t hesitate to lay blame for unnecessarily high insurance premiums at the feet of Republicans like Congressman Messer and Congressman Rokita.

After crafting a toxic healthcare bill that garners support from less than 20 percent of the country, Republicans have tried to make their bill seem more appealing not by improving it but by sabotaging the existing health care markets, which may result in soaring premiums for Hoosiers on the individual marketplace and even some insurers fleeing the Indiana market entirely. Congressional Republicans have sued the executive branch to stop the payment of crucial subsidies to insurers, and the Trump administration has threatened not to take part in the suit, which would end the subsidies and result in higher premiums.

Additionally, congressional Republicans, including Congressman Messer and Congressman Rokita, passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that would take away health insurance from 23 million Americans, while members of the Senate Republican Caucus negotiate its counterpart bill in secret. Not even many Republican senators know what’s in their own bill, to say nothing of the health insurers; forced to guess at what provisions will be governing health care markets next year, insurers will likely set rates that prepare for the worst-case scenario.

Time and again, insurers have made clear that any rate issues are due to problems stemming from the Republican efforts, both in public letters and news reports:

  • CareSource, who normally would likely raise rates by only two percent next year, will likely raise their premiums by at least 15 percent as “the Trump administration shuts off subsidies that help low-income customers cover expenses,” the Indy Star reported Friday.
  • The CEO of Indianapolis-based Anthem, which withdrew from Ohio’s markets, “cited the political and regulatory uncertainty” from AHCA and insurance subsidies when discussing participation in the insurance markets, according to a June 7 Star story.
  • Premiums could increase by more than $2400 if Republicans’ health care bill becomes law as Republicans “actively [undermine] the insurance markets,” former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on June 15.
  • Indiana Public Media on Monday mentioned that “insurance companies seem most worried about the future of cost-sharing subsidies” as they prepare to set today’s rates.

“Hard-line Republicans like Congressmen Messer and Rokita are so determined to enact their awful health care bill that they’ll ruin the lives of millions of more Americans by wrecking the nation’s health care system,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “They don’t care how much premiums skyrocket, or even if insurers leave the Indiana market, so long as it helps them get one step closer to passing their overhaul. When the dust settles and we see the state of the health insurance markets in Indiana, Hoosiers will know the only group responsible for injecting uncertainty into the health care markets are Republican extremists.”

###