Northam: Trump’s ACA sabotage leaves Virginians without choice of insurers

The Richmond Times Dispatch reported more than 66,000 residents in 58 cities and counties could be left with no coverage and no options next year as insurers end their participation in Virginia’s exchanges.

ralph northam“After a spectacular public failure in the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Trump is now resorting to the deliberate sabotage of the insurance market and gambling with people’s lives,” said Dr. Ralph Northam, the Democratic Party nominee for governor.

The news adds to the uncertainty for consumers navigating the marketplace faced after Anthem announced it would exit last month. With little time before the September 27 deadline for insurers to join the state’s exchange and have rates approved by the Bureau of Insurance, consumers may be facing a market without options.

One of the clear barriers facing insurers who could join the exchange is the uncertainty deliberately created by the Trump administration’s commitment to federal cost-sharing reductions, which help insurers offset the costs of the requirements to provide coverage to low-income Virginians.

The uncertainty and lack of options will also mean premium increases for Virginians who would like to enroll.  Additionally, the Trump administration has also made cuts to navigator programs that guide people through the enrollment process.

“As a doctor, I know firsthand the number one disincentive to insurers is uncertainty – there are prescriptions I cannot write, procedures I can’t order, unless I am 100 percent certain their cost can be justified,” Northam said. “The lives and treatment of thousands of Virginians and one sixth of the economy are hanging in the balance of a president who sees fit to play games, and he is buoyed in these efforts by Republicans like my opponent who will not weigh in no matter how high the stakes.

“We should all be able to agree that no family in this commonwealth should be one medical illness away from financial demise. I have said it before and I will say it again – it is time for Republicans and Democrats to come to the table and find the solutions to stabilize and fix the Affordable Care Act.”

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