by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
Health insurers approve of repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate, the part of the law that forces Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty, among other provisions included in replacement plans put forth by Republicans.
America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade association representing health insurance companies, released a paper this week outlining their views on how to make health care work for every American.
“The Affordable Care Act will see significant changes,” the group said, using the formal name for Obamacare. “Those changes can either begin a stable transition to a better approach, or they can bring about even more uncertainty and instability.”
“Replacing the individual mandate with strong, effective incentives, such as late enrollment penalties and waiting periods, can help expand coverage and lower costs for everyone,” they said.
While the individual mandate will likely be changed, the group said there will need to be an effort to encourage everyone to purchase coverage to avoid high premiums and fewer consumer choices.
In June, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) released the GOP’s agenda to reform health care by replacing Obamacare. The plan would offer tax credits to the uninsured so they can purchase health coverage. It would also replace guaranteed issue with high-risk pools and expand provisions like health savings accounts.
The trade association supports these measures.
“Tools such as tax credits can help low-income individuals and families get the coverage they need—but must be effective enough to make coverage truly affordable,” the group said. “For Americans with complex medical needs, solutions like high-risk pools can mitigate the risk of adverse selection and deliver effective coverage.”
“More consumer choice and more consumer control, through solutions like tax credits and Health Savings Accounts, will deliver efficient, effective solutions that control costs for both consumers and taxpayers,” the group said.
The group recommended giving consumers more choice about their health care and allowing states to make their own decisions about how to organize their health care systems.
“Give states the flexibility to develop effective solutions that work best for their citizens,” the trade association said. “Every consumer is different—and every state is different. States can decide what’s best for their people, and let the people decide what’s best for themselves.”
The group stressed the importance of stability during the transition period between repealing and replacing Obamacare to ensure that Americans do not lose coverage.
“Ensure that people’s coverage—and lives—are not disrupted,” the group said. “Millions of Americans are selecting and purchasing individual health plans now—and will continue to do so through January 2017.”
“Making sudden, significant changes now or mid-year will jeopardize the coverage they depend on,” the group said. “We can ensure a stable transition with smart solutions that protect both consumers and taxpayers.”