DARKE COUNTY — State and federal leaders from Ohio are speaking out on Anthem’s decision to withdraw from Ohio’s health insurance market in 2018.
The move announced June 6 by Anthem Inc. could reportedly leave consumers in 20 Ohio counties without an option for buying individual coverage on the exchange.
Nationwide, many insurers have expressed worry about the future of the exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which have generated steep losses for them and soaring prices for many customers.
Democratic Sen. Brown blames uncertainty created by President Trump and Congressional Republicans for Anthem’s withdrawal from the Buckeye State.
“The dangerous game President Trump and Washington politicians are playing just caused 70,000 paying customers in Ohio to lose their insurance and it will continue raising prices for everyone else,” he said. “It’s got to stop,” Brown said. “We are talking about people’s lives – their ability to get cancer treatment, afford life-saving medicines and take their kids to the doctor. Instead of using working families as bargaining chips and driving up prices across the market, we need to work together to lower costs and make healthcare work better for everyone.”
Republican Sen. Portman took a different angle, blaming the ACA, or “Obamacare” as the culprit.
“For the past few years we’ve seen premiums and deductibles skyrocket because of the ObamaCare law, as we’ve seen a declining number of viable health care choices for families and small businesses,” said Portman. “Now, with the pullout of Anthem in Ohio, there are at least 20 counties without a single insurer offering health coverage on the ObamaCare exchange. And many other counties will have only one insurer, with no competition to get costs down for families. This is a problem not just in Ohio but across the country.”
“Without true competition and choice in the market, we will never be able to lower health care costs for families and small businesses. This is one more reason why the status quo on health care is unsustainable. The Affordable Care Act has failed to meet the promises that were made to Ohio families,” he added.
State Rep. Keith Faber (R-Celina) echoed Portman’s statement.
“I wish I could say I’m surprised, but we have seen the number of health insurance options decrease year after year under Obamacare in a market that eliminates competition and drives up costs,” he said. “This change leaves many hard-working people in my district without health insurance or even the option to buy a policy for themselves and their families. These are people we know, our friends, our neighbors, and our families. This is a problem that was and is directly caused by the federal government’s actions to create Obamacare and delay repealing it. It is time to stop talking and start fixing this problem.”
The Ohio Republican Party also issued a statement, saying:
“Anthem is latest major health insurer to pull out of Ohio’s Obamacare market, leaving at least 18 counties with zero health insurance options. This news comes just two weeks after we learned that premiums here have spiked by 86 percent. It’s clear that Obamacare has failed, but Democrats like Sherrod Brown continue to deny reality. How many Ohioans must lose their coverage options before Democrats realize that repealing and replacing Obamacare is the only way to ensure affordable health care for all?”
Consumers with questions are directed to contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 800-686-1526.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com
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