Obama slams Congress for failing to fix “real problems” with ACA

Obama slams Congress for failing to fix “real problems” with ACA

Obama slams Congress for failing to fix “real problems” with ACA Toluse Olorunnipa

President Barack Obama said his signature health-care law has “real problems” that have been exacerbated by congressional gridlock and political polarization.

“They’re eminently fixable problems in terms of strengthening the marketplace, improving the subsidies so more folks can get it, making sure everybody has Medicaid who was qualified under the original legislation, doing more on the cost containment,” Obama said in an interview published Sunday in New York Magazine. “But you hit a point where if Congress just is not willing to make any constructive modifications and it’s all political football, then you’re getting a suboptimal solution.”

The Affordable Care Act is under strain after an exodus of major health-insurance companies from government-run marketplaces called exchanges, as well as large rate hikes in many states. Minnesota’s commerce commissioner, Mike Rothman, said on Friday that he would allow insurers selling individual plans in the state to raise their prices by at least 50 percent next year after the near “collapse” of its market for individual coverage.

Many Republican-run states also still refuse to expand Medicaid, the health program for low-income people, as called for under the law.

Trump, Clinton

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has pledged to repeal Obamacare if he wins election in November. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has said she would fix it, and some Republicans in Congress say they’d be willing to work with her to do so.

Last month, Obama met with top executives from more than a dozen health insurers, including Humana Inc. and Cigna Corp., to re-affirm his support for the Affordable Care Act after several companies retreated from the exchanges.

Harken Health Insurance Co., a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc.,the biggest U.S. health insurer, said last week it would withdraw from the two markets where it was selling plans, in Georgia and Chicago. The company said it would continue to sell individual plans off the exchanges.

‘Challenges’

In a letter last month to health insurance companies, Obama said there had been struggles in implementing the law.

“We know that this progress has not been without challenges. Most new enterprises have growing pains and opportunities for improvement,” Obama wrote in the letter. “The marketplace, while strong, is no exception.”

The Affordable Care Act relies on privately run insurers to sell health plans to individuals through the exchanges, usually with government subsidies to reduce the price. About 11.1 million people were signed up for Obamacare plans at the end of March, according to the U.S.

Enrollment for coverage in 2017 opens Nov. 1, a week before the U.S. presidential election.


Copyright Bloomberg 2016
 
3 Comments
  • Neal Biron 10/3/2016 3:55:04 PM
    All the same noise. I am still deafened by the lack of any “noise” regarding the real issue, the cost of Health Care. We saw a lot of weeping and the gnashing of teeth by politicians about the epipen fiasco, and their self-serving, totally disingenuous outrage over the pharmaceutical industry’s gouging of the American public, but no real action. It seems to me if it is legal for them to tell insurance companies they have to operate at an 85% loss ratio, then they have the power to reign in the pharmaceutical industry’s greed based operating principles.

    Yes Mr. President. It is refreshing to see that you admit to the serious and costly flaws within the ACA, but most of them can be resolved, not by continuing to rearrange the pea under the insurance company walnut shells, but by dealing with the root of the problem. Put as much money, effort and energy as well as political will into getting the cost of delivering health care under control. Imagine that, a real Affordable Care Act!!
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  • Carl Ohlendorf 10/3/2016 3:55:30 PM
    I wish someone would admit the goal is to have only one company remaining.
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  • Janice Michaud 10/3/2016 4:49:50 PM
    “We know that this progress has not been without challenges. Most new enterprises have growing pains and opportunities for improvement,” Obama wrote in the letter. “The marketplace, while strong, is no exception.”
    It is an exception... it relies on forcing people to pay for it and no matter how badly it is put together.... we have no options.
    This is not a viable enterprise without force.
    Unlike private enterprise, it can't be stopped by consumers going elsewhere. They effectively took away our private health insurance options... The actual affordable ones.
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