2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

Tennessee: GOP Insurance Commissioner can't find ANYONE in Trump Admin to answer vital questions re. insurance market

Julie McPeak is the Tennessee Insurance Commissioner. She was appointed by a Republican Governor, Bill Haslam, and while the position itself appears to be nonpartisan, I've found several links indicating that yes, she's a Republican herself. This is hardly surprising in Tennessee, of course, and there's nothing wrong with it...but it's noteworthy given that Tennessee is among the 19 states which has been fairly hostile towards the ACA in general over the years (no state exchange, no Medicaid expansion, total GOP control and so forth).

I've noted repeatedly that while every year brings some amount of premium rate hikes and/or carriers dropping out of the exchanges (or off the entire individual market), there's a major new factor impacting both this time around: The Trump/GOP Sabotage/Uncertainty Factor. This includes, but isn't limited to:

  • Will the Trump Administration make good on the billions of dollars of legally-owed Cost Sharing Reduction reimubursements?
  • Will the Trump Administration actually bother enforcing the Individual Mandate Penalty?
  • Will the Trump Administration commit to actually promoting, marketing & outreach efforts for Open Enrollment this fall?
  • Will the GOP actually repeal the ACA, replace it with the AHCA, replace it with some other bill out of the Senate or something else?

...and so on.

Well. apparently it's not just Democrats who are calling attention to this factor now: Here's McPeak venting about it in a Tennessean article from yesterday:

Tennessee's top health insurance official is expressing frustration over what she describes as a lack of answers from Washington and the Trump administration, as the state braces for a new round of insurance rate filings.

The future of a type of health insurance subsidy called cost-sharing reductions (CSR) is causing distress for insurers across the country, and Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak says she can't pinpoint the agency that will make the decision.

The depth of Tennessee's individual health insurance market is shallow — most of the state's coverage depends upon a single insurer — and federal decisions around cost-sharing reductions could "make it even more challenging," McPeak said during a wide-ranging interview about health insurance and reform at The Tennessean.

Despite the paramount importance of the subsidies as insurers around the country make final decisions about 2018, McPeak and her peers are having trouble parsing the federal bureaucracy — and finding someone who can make a decision.

Read the entire article. Fair use policy prevents me from reposting more than the above, but there's not a single paragraph in it that I didn't want to highlight.