Obamacare update

Published 8:35 am Thursday, August 25, 2016

Once again the inappropriately named Affordable Care Act is in the headlines.  Inappropriately named from the start because it drove up the cost of health care insurance for many while at the same time raising one’s deductible (the portion that you, the patient, must pay).

The headlines in this week’s news were filled with stories that some of the largest health insurance companies in the nation have chosen to discontinue providing insurance through the ACA program because of massive losses in some states.  UnitedHealthcare, Humana and Aetna are three of the largest insurers. 

Each announced their plans to no longer offer policies in those states where they were losing the most. Those companies have or are pulling out of exchanges in many states. Additionally, 16 of the 23

non-profit, state-chartered co-ops created in some states by Obamacare to sell affordable insurance plans have gone bankrupt.

More insurers may follow suit and drop out of the ACA creating an even greater problem.  Blue Cross is losing huge sums on its exchange plans across the country:  $300 million in Tennessee, $280 million in North Carolina, $185 million in Arizona, $135 million in Alabama. 

As an example, if mother owned the family home and is put in a nursing home and the bill is paid by Medicaid, then the states are expected to force a sale of the house that may be the home of children or grandchildren. This is one of the many reasons that the Virginia General Assembly has wisely chosen to not indiscriminately add more to the Medicaid program.

The problems we have had in reasonable and responsible healthcare over the last number of years have not been solved by Obamacare. 

Let’s hope the next president we elect better understands that we can and must have a health care system that focuses on providing real care.

Frank Ruff, a Republican, represents Lunenburg County in the Virginia Senate. His email address is Sen.Ruff@verizon.net.