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US: Trump, Clinton speak out on Aetna’s ACA departure

 |  August 21, 2016

Aetna said this week that it will slash about 70 percent of what it offers on the Obamacare insurance exchanges next year. That move followed similar announcements by other major insurers, including Humana, which said last month that it would leave some markets, discontinue products and raise rates.

“Aetna just today announced that they are dropping out, as are many of the major insurance agencies,” Trump said at a rally in Wisconsin Tuesday, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. “Obamacare is a disaster.”

According to another Wall Street Journal report, Trump also said the move was an indication that “this broken law … is slowly imploding under its regulatory red tape.”

Lots of insurers have had trouble turning a profit on the exchanges because they often have ended up paying more in claims than they received in premiums. But there is speculationthat Aetna’s move also might have had something to do with the US.

Department of Justice’s move to block its proposed $37 billion acquisition of Humana.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Clinton has vowed to “defend and improve” the law, including by setting limits on out-of-pocket costs and supporting public option insurance. Public option would create a government insurance plan that would compete with private insurers, such as Humana and Aetna.

According to that report, Clinton has said this is a way of “giving Americans, in every state, a choice of a public option health insurance plan that will help everybody afford coverage” and that it would “strengthen competition and drive down costs.”

Competition has been a big concern, especially considering the potential for dramatic consolidation in the health insurance industry. Humana and Aetna are seeking to combine at the same time as two other big insurers — Cigna Corp. and Anthem Inc. If both deals went through, the market would shrink to three major insurers from five, which some worry will increase rates for consumers.

“Premiums are going up at a rate that nobody has ever seen before,” Trump said, according to the WSJ report. He called the potential increases this fall “catastrophic … an increase like never before.”

Another option is single-payer, sometimes described as “Medicare for All,” which was championed by US Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. That system has some support from doctors here in Louisville.

According to The Wall Street Journal report, Sanders issued a statement after Aetna’s announcement, saying: “The provision of health care cannot continue to be dependent upon the whims and market projections of large private insurance companies whose only goal is to make as much profit as possible.”

Full Content: The Wall Street Journal

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