Health insurance “reformers” run headlong into econ 101

This article by Jonathan Swan and David Nather about the republicans' continuing efforts to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act starts with something that would be laughable if it weren't so serious:

House Republican leaders are worried that a concession in the developing Trumpcare talks could make already anxious moderates run away from the bill. The proposal is to allow states to get rid of the "community rating" provision that prevents insurers from charging higher rates to sick people. Why it's a problem: Most Republicans have been adamant that they're going to keep covering people with pre-existing conditions (as has President Trump). It's one of the most popular parts of Obamacare. But without the "community rating" provision, insurers could jack up the premiums for people with health problems — and make it so expensive that they lose coverage because they can't afford it anymore.

Gee, what a surprise: One of the ACA's key attributes — that you can't be turned away for health insurance if you are sick — has to be paid for somehow. One way is to charge astronomical premiums for sick people — which is hardly insurance at all. Another is requiring everyone — even currently healthy people — to buy insurance (or if they don't buy insurance to pay a tax) to help keep premiums fairly reasonable for everyone.

Between the two, which do you prefer?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *