Ohio small business owner and Anthem customer knows ACA isn’t to blame for marketplace instability

While Senate Republicans have been working behind closed doors this month on their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the increasing instability of the healthcare marketplace has been making headlines in Ohio. Curtis Davis, owner of Information and Communications Services, LLC in Columbus, is one of many Anthem customers who were disappointed to hear the announcement that the insurance company will be exiting the state’s marketplace in 2018.

This decision, which will leave 18 counties without coverage options under the ACA, should not to be interpreted as a sign of the ACA’s failure, as some are claiming. The truth is that the administration’s refusal to commit to reimbursing insurance companies for cost-sharing subsidies for low-income customers is creating too great a risk for providers, and all of the uncertainty surrounding ACA repeal is destabilizing the health marketplaces.

If this continues, more providers will undoubtedly follow Anthem’s lead, or be forced to increase their premium costs. This will be especially harmful for entrepreneurs like Curtis, as the ACA has provided him with a flexible option for himself and his employees to access coverage. And since most of Curtis’s employees also receive their insurance through the individual exchange, he’s worried some of them may leave his business to find another job with employer-sponsored coverage. While Curtis would like to offer health insurance to his employees, he simply doesn’t have the resources to do so at this time.

Curtis says that the administration’s efforts to undermine the ACA have already caused problems for small businesses like his, and dismantling the law entirely will only exacerbate them. While the law may need improvements, “it’s not advantageous to reinvent the wheel again,” as Curtis says. That’s why entrepreneurs like Curtis encourage lawmakers to drop their plans to repeal and replace, and instead work towards strengthening the ACA.  

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