Time to Stabilize Insurance Markets and Give Rural States Their Fair Share

Americans have been hurt from every direction by the Republican’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but now that the skunk has been shooed from the garden, maybe for good, it’s time to get serious about a plan to shore up health insurance markets nationwide, and give Rural States that missed out on federal funds the money they deserve.

It’s the epitome of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t nightmare scenario. Had the GOP’s repeal plans succeeded, it would have left millions without health care, or forced them to pay more money for less coverage. However, by doing nothing, the party that now controls every branch of the federal government is still forcing Americans to pay more for healthcare and prompting insurers to abandon coverage markets in the states.

The GOP leadership needs to pay attention to an overwhelming majority of Americans who want to see ACA fixed not finished. It’s time to turn a corner now and find ways to mutual accords that will make America stronger, healthier and more secure. Swift action is necessary.

The White House needs to make the first move in order to take a real step toward a bipartisan solution to ensure consumers have dependable and affordable health care coverage. Trump needs to immediately halt his quest to drive up the cost of healthcare and he must resume the campaign to inform people when they can enroll in the ACA. Extending the sign-up period would be a smart move Trump could make on behalf of Americans.

The second step would require Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), to quickly return to the negotiating table and come up with a bipartisan plan to stabilize 2018 premiums for consumers in health insurance markets. Given the accusations that the GOP leadership had plotted to sink the temporary fix ahead of the vote on Cassidy-Graham bill, it would be helpful for the ruling Republican leadership give its blessing to the repair effort for the good of America.

It’s equally important to get federal funds to Rural Americans who are missing out. Nineteen states failed to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage offered under the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of Americans stuck inside what is known as a coverage gap. Essentially those Americans have been told by their state leaders they will have to get their healthcare in emergency rooms, leaving them without reliable insurance while raising the cost of health care for the rest of us.

Mainly Republican governors and legislatures in those 19 states argued against Medicaid expansion, claiming they feared the federal government would eventually cut payments and leave states paying the bill. However, it was clearly petty politics that motivated the GOP state lawmakers to decline the funds, not wanting to appear to be showing support for the ACA or the Democratic president who signed it into law.

Ironically, the scheme the to cut off the federal funding for Medicaid expansion it was a Republican president and Republican-led Congress that was trying to do the dirty deed. Many of the state officials who denied their residents affordable health care cheered on the Republican effort before it failed. That’s crazy politics. Rural Americans deserve a better deal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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