Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain warned Thursday that Pinal County could soon be the first to have zero Obamacare marketplace options in the wake of Aetna pulling out of the exchange – leaving roughly 10,000 residents to fend for themselves in terms of seeking coverage.
The former presidential contender slammed the Affordable Care Act’s failures, in an op-ed published on FoxNews.com, noting President Barack Obama’s landmark health-care legislation failed to deliver on the promise of more choices and competition.
McCain said the issues the ACA caused will likely lead to more areas of the country without options due to insurers pulling out of Obamacare exchanges and raising premiums to make up for sizable losses since its implementation.
“The crumbling of ObamaCare has become commonplace all across the country. Major insurers like UnitedHealth, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Humana have reported stunning financial losses from Obamacare – to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars,” he wrote. “In fact, before it announced it would leave Arizona, Aetna had proposed an 18 percent premium rate hike over last year to cover its losses. The average proposed premium rate increase among all insurers for 2017 plans in Arizona tops 65 percent.”
The senator said places like Pinal County will feel the most pain, where 18 percent of its residents live below poverty line with 88 percent of ObamaCare enrollees receiving federal subsidies.
“Today, 88 percent of ObamaCare enrollees in Pinal County receive a federal subsidy averaging $230 per month,” he continued. “Of that 88 percent, over 50 percent of the population receives additional financial assistance to help pay for copays, prescription medications and other health care needs. Unless another insurer agrees to enter the marketplace, the only options these individuals will have would be to pay potentially thousands of dollars for health insurance in the private marketplace or go without health coverage altogether.”
McCain highlighted legislation he introduced in February to repeal and replace Obamacare, designed to eliminate the employer and individual mandates and increase tax credits as an incentive to purchase coverage.
“The fact is, ObamaCare has always been the wrong solution to reforming America’s health care system. It shouldn’t have to take the complete collapse of the system for Democrats to finally wake up to this reality,” he concluded. “In the meantime, Republicans will continue fighting to repeal and replace this failed law with health care that empowers Americans to choose the health care that works for them and their families – not the federal government.”
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