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S&P Report: Obamacare Markets Stabilizing

Image: S&P Report: Obamacare Markets Stabilizing
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By    |   Friday, 07 Apr 2017 06:54 PM

The Obamacare markets are stabilizing for insurers, said a report released by Standard & Poor's Financial Services, but that could change if lawmakers choose to alter the healthcare law, reported The Hill.

The report, release Friday, said Obamacare was not in a "death spiral," as some Republicans have claimed, and suggested insurers could soon be making money in the exchanges, so long as major alterations weren't made to the law.

"If the market continues unaffected, with a few fixes rather than an overhaul, we expect 2018, or Year 5 of the ACA individual market, to be one of gradual improvement with more insurers reporting positive (albeit low single-digit) margins," the report said. "2016 results and the market enrollment so far in 2017 show that the ACA individual market is not in a ‘death spiral.'"

Two proposed changes in particular could alter the healthcare marketplace — canceling cost-sharing reductions and eliminating the individual mandate which states that citizens must carry insurance or risk paying a fee.

The cost-sharing reductions reimburse insurers for giving discounted deductibles to low-income people enrolling in Obamacare. Should those payments to insurers be eliminated, S&P predicted insurers would have to raise premiums due to the risk or leave the marketplace altogether.

House Republicans sued the administration of former President Barack Obama stating such payments were unconstitutional. The lawsuit is still ongoing.

Changing the individual mandate could also scare away insurers, the report warned, or cause them to add an "uncertainty buffer" in their pricing.

Democrats were quick to respond to the report.

"Today's report from S&P confirms that the Affordable Care Act is on stable ground, but it warns that Republicans' efforts to sabotage the law could impede that stability," said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

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The Obamacare markets are stabilizing for insurers, said a report released by Standard & Poor's Financial Services, but that could change if lawmakers choose to alter the healthcare law, reported The Hill.
report, obamacare, markets, stabilize
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2017-54-07
Friday, 07 Apr 2017 06:54 PM
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