Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Stewart Boss released the following statement: “Dean Heller couldn’t jam his destructive health care bill through the Senate last month, so now he’s proudly applauding President Trump’s unilateral efforts to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, spike premiums on the exchange and disrupt our health care system. Washington Republicans are so politically obsessed with undoing the Affordable Care Act that their actions are already fueling instability and higher costs on Nevada’s health exchange. Senator Heller owns this chaos, and Nevada voters will hold him accountable in 2018 for playing games with their health care and making it more expensive.”
The Nevada Independent: Nevada exchange official: Trump executive order adds uncertainty to ‘already volatile’ health care market
By Megan Messerly
October 12th, 2017
- President Donald Trump took the responsibility of dismantling the Affordable Care Act upon himself Thursday morning, signing an executive order to allow people to purchase health insurance policies with fewer benefits than currently required under federal law.
- But the head of Nevada’s health insurance exchange, along with many other national health care policy experts, worries that the change will allow younger, healthier people to jump ship from existing insurance pools in favor of the cheaper plans, driving up costs for the older, sicker people left behind on the exchange.
- But Heather Korbulic, executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, said that the executive order adds uncertainty to an ‘already volatile’ health care market.
- “If you offer plans that have relaxations on the ACA standards — that will lower premiums — then you will likely entice younger, healthier people into those plans and away from exchange plans, and therefore you degrade the risk pool,” Korbulic said. “From there, you will likely see an increase in premiums. Carriers will be forced to increase premiums if the exchange is only insuring sick people.”
- “I would like people to know that this is concerning to the individual market in Nevada, but it does need to go through the proper process and will likely not impact this next open enrollment period,” Korbulic said. “The only way to get subsidies is through the exchange, so we’re ready and willing to help.”
- Republican Sen. Dean Heller, the cosponsor of one of the failed repeal-and-replace proposals in the Senate, had a different take on Thursday, lauding the president’s executive order for the way it will promote competition in the health-care marketplace, expand options for consumers and decrease costs. The Heller-backed proposal, which first arose amid Senate health care debates in July and got a second wind in September, would have turned federal Obamacare dollars over to the states to use for a wide variety of health care purposes.
- “For years, I have said that we need to allow insurance companies to offer a number of different products and enable consumers to purchase insurance across state lines to encourage competition and lower costs,” Heller said in a statement. “That’s why I introduced legislation that would do just that. While I am disappointed that Congress has not successfully acted to repeal and replace Obamacare, I applaud President Trump’s action on this issue and I look forward to working with my colleagues to move my legislation forward in the Senate.”
- A Nevada Division of Insurance spokeswoman also could not be immediately reached for comment, though the president of the bipartisan National Association of Insurance Commissioners said Thursday that commissioners have “long expressed concerns with expanding (association health plans) in a manner that reduces consumer protections or solvency requirements that promote safe and sound markets.”