Rep. Bruce Westerman told The Arkansas Project Monday that the recent news of likely health insurance rate increases in Arkansas and other states next year is a result of Obamacare “imploding on itself.”
From what I’m seeing at the federal level with the whole Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that it’s imploding on itself. We’re not just seeing increased rates in the private option, or Arkansas Works or Medicaid expansion as it has been done in other states. We’re seeing private insurance rates go up.
Westerman was speaking to Arkansas reporters on Monday about House Republicans’ “Better Way” plan.
Westerman said about the plan:
We’re seeing health care costs continue to grow and we’re also seeing more limited access to health care so that kind of ties into our plan to address the health care issue. It’s a plan that’s more patient-provider centered and gets the federal government out of doing prices for services. One that creates more competition in the marketplace. One that will allow you to buy health insurance across state lines. Hopefully, (this plan will) protect those health care services for those that truly need them.
Westerman also said he wanted to improve state governments’ accountability concerning federal taxpayer funding.
We’ve got to get states more accountable by putting caps on how much federal money goes into state programs. Right now there’s no limit on how much the federal government spends on those programs. I think we’ve got to segregate those programs into different buckets and put caps on those buckets and incentivize the states to manage those programs better. The states I think will be for this because it gives them more flexibility and allows them to design programs that better fit their state.
It’s not an exaggeration to say, as Westerman did, that Obamacare is “imploding on itself.” For example, a state-contracted actuarial firm recommended last week that the Arkansas Insurance Department (AID) should approve a 14.7 percent premium increase for Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 2017.
Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion was supposed to protect against large state premium hikes like these — supposedly by putting enough young and healthy enrollees into Medicaid to balance out the older and sicker enrollees in the Arkansas insurance pool.
Obviously, now that we’re seeing a large rate increase request from Arkansas insurance companies, this hasn’t worked according to plan.
A final rate-increase decision is expected later this month by AID.