KHN Morning Briefing

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Anthem Pulls Out Of Ohio Exchange Providing ACA Critics With More Ammunition

The move will leave about 10,000 Ohioans who get their insurance from the individual insurance market created by Obamacare without an insurance carrier.

The New York Times: Anthem Will Exit Health Insurance Exchange In Ohio
Anthem, one of the nation’s largest insurers and a major player in the individual insurance market created by the federal health care law, announced Tuesday that it would stop offering policies in the Ohio marketplace next year. Although its departure would leave a small number of people — roughly 10,500 who live in about a fifth of the state’s counties — without an insurance carrier, the move was seized on by Republicans as more evidence that the markets are “collapsing” under the Affordable Care Act. President Trump, meeting with congressional leaders on Tuesday, said it was more proof that insurers are “fleeing and leaving” the marketplaces and added that it was essential for Congress to pass a bill repealing the health law this summer. (Abelson, 6/6)

The Wall Street Journal: Anthem’s Exit From Ohio Exchange Ups Ante For GOP Health Overhaul
Anthem said the market remains volatile and it cited the uncertainty surrounding key issues, including federal “cost-sharing” payments that help reduce costs for low-income ACA enrollees. Anthem’s decision was immediately seized on by both sides of the debate over the Republican health bill. Republicans, who have pointed to insurers’ withdrawals and rate increases as signs of trouble with the ACA, said the move was evidence of the need for new legislation. President Donald Trump mentioned the Anthem withdrawal at a White House meeting with congressional Republican leaders on Tuesday. (Wilde Mathews, 6/6)

The Cleveland Plain Dealer: Major Ohio Insurer Is Pulling Out Of Obamacare Market For 2018
Withdrawal from other states could follow. Anthem's Ohio decision was announced Tuesday because it followed the Monday state deadline for all insurers to make their intentions clear with rate filings. "Regarding other states, we remain in active dialogue with state leaders and regulators in hopes that we can find a sustainable path moving forward before we are required to make a decision," company spokesman Jeff Blunt said in an email. "As the individual marketplace continues to evolve, Anthem will continue to advocate solutions to ensure long-term stability in the market." (Koff, 6/6)

The Hill: Anthem Pulling Out Of ObamaCare Market In Ohio 
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) issued a statement shortly after the announcement, saying “this is one more reason why the status quo on health care is unsustainable. The Affordable Care Act has failed to meet the promises that were made to Ohio families.” Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio), who represents a county now at risk of having no ObamaCare insurers, said the healthcare law is "collapsing under its own weight." (Roubein, 6/6)

The Washington Post: Republicans, Stoking Insurer Panic, Cite Uncertainty As A Reason To Pass Health-Care Bill
After Senate Republicans wrapped up their health-care meeting with Vice President Pence, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), one of the body’s few physicians, told reporters that the party got a new sense of urgency after Anthem, an insurer in Ohio’s Affordable Care Act exchange, announced that it was pulling out. Thousands of Ohioans, most in rural areas, could be left uninsured. “We need to stabilize the markets right now,”  Barrasso said. “While we were in there, another company pulled out, which shows the continued collapse of the Obamacare market. I mean, it happened during the policy meeting.” (Weigel, 6/6)

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