The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) made massive changes to health markets – some positive and some negative. It created new consumer protections, corrected some market imbalances, and reduced the number of uninsured Americans to historic lows. The program has been rife with political controversy and programmatic challenges, however. While many Americans with significant health needs or lower incomes have greater access to coverage now, the reality is that for millions of others, health coverage is less affordable and more out of reach than when the ACA was enacted seven years ago. Overregulation, mandates, taxes and fees have contributed to high and growing health insurance premiums, marked by average double-digit price increases for exchange plans. Because of these problems, insurers are exiting marketplaces throughout the country, reducing competition and contributing to a seriously unbalanced and expensive risk pool where consumers have fewer choices. This is leading to a vicious cycle causing healthy consumers to abandon the exchange markets where they are desperately needed to hold coverage costs down over the long-term.
For the second time in less than a decade, Americans now face a major fight over health care reform. President Donald J. Trump and Republican congressional leaders have pledged to immediately work to repeal President Barack Obama’s controversial health system overhaul and replace it with a more flexible, market-driven approach. This holds great promise to correct mistakes in the law that have led to market instability and higher costs. If replacement efforts are not coupled with immediate stabilization efforts, however, markets will continue to deteriorate and the loss of coverage for millions of enrollees will be severe.
CAHC supports efforts to create a more sustainable health system through reforms that will help increase competition, improve access, foster and expand informed consumer choice, promote value, and empower consumers. Congress and the Administration should work aggressively to stabilize and improve risk pools, expand and enhance competition and consumer choice, and reduce statutory and regulatory burdens. Perhaps most importantly, decision makers should heed the threat posed by rising health costs. We support long-term policies that will rein in the growth of health costs to meet that of general wage growth, so that working Americans can again afford their health coverage.