ACA Signups in the Media

OK, a little more self-serving news...until last week I hadn't been interviewed, quoted or cited by other media outlets for awhile, but with both the #TexasFoldEm lawsuit, the Brent Kavanaugh SCOTUS hearings and the 2019 Open Enrollment Period all coming up fast, I've had one of each of the above happen over the past week:

INTERVIEW: If you want to hear me flap my gums explaining the #TexasFoldEm lawsuit and the implications of it for 40 minutes or so, check out last week's special episode of Hopping Mad podcast with Arliss Bunny and Will McLeod:

30 August 2018 – Because of the holiday we did not have a show planned for Monday but then I noticed a tweet from ACA expert, Charles Gaba (@Charles_Gaba). The ACA is at serious risk again, this time in the courts in what Charles refers to as the Texas Fold ’em Case (Texas v Azar). Normally, this would not be a case which posed any threat but the Trump administration has opted not to defend the ACA (you can insert “not to defend the rule of law,” same difference) so with very little warning a collection of Attorneys General from various blue states are suddenly arguing the side of HHS Secretary Azar. Either way, this thing gets appealed and it is almost surely bound for the Supreme Court…with whatever new justice is seated.

QUOTE: I had a lengthy discussion with Alison Kodjak of NPR over 2019 ACA premium rate changes; her story is a pretty good overview of both the good news (rates are only going up by low single digits in many states) and the bad news (they would be dropping on average without sabotage of the law by Trump and the GOP):

But the news could be better, Gaba says.

Premiums would actually be falling next year but for the actions of the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress that have weakened the ACA law itself and its markets, Gaba says.

Those actions include getting rid of the tax penaltyfor people who don't buy health insurance, refusing to reimburse insurance companies for discounts they are required by law to offer to low-income customers, and encouraging insurers to sell stripped-down, short-term insurance. Those moves are draining healthy young people out of the ACA market.

"The reality is that if you didn't have those factors, if you didn't have the expansion of short-term plans, and especially the repeal of the mandate penalty for next year, average premiums would most likely be dropping by a good 4 or 5 percent," he says.

CITATION: It's been awhile since economist and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman cited my work, but he did so yesterday in his latest opinion piece. Interestingly, he used a post of mine from over a year ago to make his point:

If you want private insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions, you have to ban discrimination based on medical history. But that in itself isn’t enough, because if policies cost the same for everyone, those who sign up will be sicker than those who don’t, creating a bad risk pool and forcing high premiums. That was the case in New York, where premiums for individual policies were very high before the A.C.A. — and promptly fell by half when Obamacare went into effect.