Donald Trump's official schedule includes 'meeting with Obamacare victims'

A major insurer plans on leaving the state's Obamacare marketplace, but the insurance situation there is nuanced

Clark Mindock
New York
Wednesday 07 June 2017 20:41 BST
Mr Trump is headed to Ohio to talk to 'Obamacare victims'
Mr Trump is headed to Ohio to talk to 'Obamacare victims' (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Donald Trump will meet with what he calls “Obamacare victims” on an official visit to Ohio, where he will also discuss his infrastructure initiatives ban.

The White House hasn’t released too much information on who those “victims” may be, but Republicans including the president have railed on rising premiums in states across the country. Those same politicians also tend to point to major healthcare insurers pulling out of Affordable Care Act marketplaces, potentially leaving thousands without primary insurance providers in their counties.

Rate hikes and insurer abandonment of markets — Anthem recently announced that it would drop out of the Ohio market, for instance — don’t necessarily paint as pure of a failure of Obamacare as Republicans say, however. While Anthem pulling out of Ohio will leave more than 10,000 customers in the lurch (67,000 will also need to choose a new plan in 2018) in counties where the insurance provider was the only marketplace provider (or one of two), other factors point to a more successful program.

Expanded Medicaid allowances in the state serves 691,000 citizens, for example. Beyond that, the high rate hikes are estimated on the presumption that customers wouldn’t shop around during open enrollment to find cheaper rates (the average rate increase approved in Ohio for 2017 was 17.33 percent, but benchmark rates only increased by 2 percent for the year, according to Between 2010 and 2015, the Affordable Care Act led to 664,000 more Ohio residents signing up for insurance.

Anthem cited Republican efforts in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act as one of the reasons it decided to pull out of Ohio, as the company is unsure whether new legislation would still pay reimbursements to insurers that Obamacare subsidies for low-income out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Anthem also cited existing “volatility” in the individual health plan market as a reason for pulling out.

A repeal of Obamacare in the state would result in an estimated 945,000 people losing their health insurance, and local Republicans have expressed concern that legislation might include a pull back on Medicaid funding in the state. Ohio's Governor John Kasich, a vocal critic of Mr Trump and a former Republican presidential candidate, has met with the president to discuss those concerns.

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