Health care access is in jeopardy

By Deborah Stetler


Dear Editor:

As Republicans attempt to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they often claim that insurer withdrawals from health exchanges prove that the ACA has failed. And yet, the Republicans' actions are directly contributing to those withdrawals. In a radio interview last Tuesday, Marguerite Salazar, Colorado's insurance commissioner, noted that she had been told by three different insurance companies that they could not stay in the health exchange without continued requirement that everyone be insured (the "individual mandate"), and continued government payments to insurers, which allow the insurers to charge customers less for premiums and other costs (so called "cost sharing reductions," or CSRs). Several insurers who have already withdrawn from the exchanges in other states have said that uncertainty about these items pushed them out of the market.

Last Thursday, Tom Price, secretary of Health and Human Services, refused to confirm to two different Congressional committees that the administration was committed to continuing payment of CSRs long term. And we are all aware that repeal of the individual mandate is one of the cornerstones of the "repeal and replace" agenda. It will be interesting to see how the public reacts to loss of health care access, as a direct result of actions by Congress and the administration. If these actions concern you, let Senator Cory Gardner know. He is part of a subcommittee writing a version of "repeal and replace."

Deborah Stetler
Grand Junction