Business, Politics

Is the Obamacare problem mostly solved?

If Donald Trump sits back and does nothing but uphold the government’s end of the bargain (continue paying the cost sharing revenue) the obamacare problem appears to be mostly solved.


Yesterday, the affordable care act got some good news when Centene, a low cost health insurer, agreed to cover 14 rural areas in Nevada, according to Business Insider.

“Today we are going to announce that there will be no counties without health insurance options in the great state of Nevada,” Sandoval said at a rural hospital in Silver Springs.

Tuesday’s decision leaves one county in Wisconsin and one county in Ohio as the only remaining empty counties for next year. Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that 381 people currently enrolled in plans in those counties are at risk of being left without an insurer in 2018.


According to The Upshot, that leaves only two counties in the country without an insurer.


This is far from the “implosion” Trump has been screaming about.  And it turns out this one insurer, a new player to the insurance game, is the major player keeping the Affordable Care Act alive in these mostly Republican states.


Centene, a company that has sold Medicaid managed care plans to states, has been a big player in the reversal. It alone has filled more than half of all identified bare counties, part of a big bet on Obamacare. Kevin Counihan, who ran the federal marketplaces in the final years of the Obamacare administration, recently joined the company as an executive.


Ironically, this was always what the exchanges were meant to be.  The competition was supposed to fuel growth along with the help from state governors and the department of health and human services.


Behind the scenes, state insurance commissioners have been twisting arms, trying to persuade reluctant insurers to cover the counties without an insurer. But some carriers also saw advantages in being the sole provider in a given place.

“There are a number of companies that are seeing a business opportunity,” said Katherine Hempstead, a senior adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who studies insurance markets.


The question is, how long will it take for Trump to take credit for this one?

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