Health Care Law Works Better In States That Support It

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Health Care Law Works Better In States That Support It

As insurers exit Obamacare marketplaces across the country, critics of the Affordable Care Act have redoubled claims that the health law isn’t working.

Yet these same critics, many of them Republican politicians in red states, took steps over the past several years to undermine the 2010 law and fuel the turmoil in their insurance markets.

Among other things, they blocked expansion of Medicaid coverage for the poor, erected barriers to enrollment and refused to move health plans into the Obamacare marketplaces, a key step to bringing in healthier consumers.

Those decisions left the marketplaces in many red states with poorer, sicker customers than they otherwise might have had.

Now, consumers are paying the price, as insurers seek major rate hikes or stop selling plans altogether.

Indeed, eight of the nine states where consumer choices will be most limited in 2017 have rejected Medicaid expansion and taken other steps that have weakened their marketplaces, data show.

“It’s the same basic lesson I tell my kids,” said Manatt Health managing director Joel Ario, a former insurance commissioner in Oregon and Pennsylvania. “If you put the work into something, you will get results. If you just sit on the sidelines and complain, you shouldn’t be surprised if things don’t work out.”

Read more from the Tribune Washington Bureau & Live Well Nebraska here.