Anthem changed its mind this week and will offer individual insurance again next year under the Affordable Care Act, but it could cost up to 64 percent more for 70,000 Southwestern Virginia who faced going into 2018 without any health care coverage.
In August, Anthem pulled out of the insurance “exchange,” which handles insurance under ACA. When Optima, a relatively small carrier compared to the larger Blue Cross plans offered by the larger firm, the future looked dim until a reversal Friday.
Anthem announced it would be providing the insurance that many have depended on under ACA but also filed requests for large increases that could add up to more than 50 percent for many.
In limbo, too, is the tax subsidy provided by ACA that President Donald Trump and his GOP cronies want to scrap. Doing so would allow them to point at decisions like Anthem and Optima and say: “See, we told you the health care law would implode.”
They won’t mention, of course, that it was their sabotage that could still cost many Virginians and others throughout America the affordable health care act.
Such is politics. Promises by Trump and Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act have failed because the President and his party that controls Congress can’t get their acts together and pass anything of substance these days.
At 69, I don’t have to deal with ACA. Medicare and supplemental insurance (from Anthem) cover my health costs. Amy, who turns 65 next year, is on an Anthem plan under ACA and faced the possibility of losing insurance on Jan. 1. With Anthem back, it looks like she will be able to keep her coverage until she goes on Medicare next July with supplemental insurance.
Polls by Gallup and other firms show a majority of Americans approve ACA. The Kaiser Family Foundation current health tracking polls shows 54 percent, about the same as Gallup.
Public acceptance or approval of a plan that insures millions of Americans — including many who didn’t have insurance before — means nothing within the political atmosphere of Congress, where the right and the left, democrats and republicans, answer to their conflicting philosophies than mean little to the citizens they are expected to represent.
Eventually, the GOP will finally agree on a health care plan that will either amend or replace the Affordable Care Act but odds say whatever it is will cost Americans more and serve the health care groups that pump large donations into Congressional campaign coffers.
If Amy’s ACA insurance lasts for at least six months next year, she will be able to get into Medicare and supplemental insurance — probably the same plan I have — but what about the millions more who face whatever madness that emerges from Capitol Hill.
I could say “God knows” but not even a deity can know or figure out what the Republicans or Democrats will do.