By July 7, 2017 Read More →

W.Va. among states most harmed by GOP health care plan

By LINDA COMINS

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va.  — West Virginia ranks sixth in the nation among states projected to be harmed the most under Senate Republicans’ proposed health care plan, according to a new report.

In an article released by the Economic Policy Institute and titled “Health Care’s Biggest Losers,” Max B. Sawicky writes that Senate Republicans’ Better Care Reconciliation Act “would increase premiums and deductibles even higher than those currently paid” under the Affordable Care Act. Average premium costs in West Virginia would increase by 108 percent under the proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act, compared to the current Affordable Care Act.

By contrast, Ohio ranks 41st among states and the District of Columbia in terms of projected costs. Average premium costs in Ohio would increase by 52 percent under the Senate proposal.

The data represent average premiums that current marketplace enrollees would pay, after receiving any premium tax credit, for a benchmark silver plan in 2020 under current law and under the BCRA.

Sawicky’s report is based on research conducted by Gary Claxton, Anthony Damico, Larry Levitt and Cynthia Cox of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

According to their projections, average monthly premium costs in West Virginia in 2020 under the Affordable Care Act would be $282, but would increase to $585 under the Better Care Reconciliation Act. In 2020, average premium costs in Ohio would be $223 under ACA, but would increase to $338 under BCRA.

Sawicky said the Kaiser Family Foundation experts “have estimated the increases in premiums for plans matching the extent of coverage currently available under ‘silver’ plans for the year 2020. To focus on the impact on family budgets, they report premium amounts after the tax credits.

He stated, “Kaiser researchers found that marketplace enrollees would pay on average 74 percent more toward the premium for a benchmark silver plan in 2020 under the BCRA than under current law.”

In addition, Sawicky contended, “The reductions in premium subsidies, in concert with tax cuts for the wealthy, will cost Americans jobs as well. Because low- and moderate-income households tend to spend a much higher share of their disposable income, the overall effect of the BCRA would be less spending and lower aggregate demand across every state and congressional district.”

He added, “This pain is highly unequal in its distribution, in more ways than one: There are differences in net premium increases among the states. These results actually understate the increases in out-of-pocket costs under BCRA since they do not reflect the higher deductibles that would be imposed.”

Kaiser researchers project that Alabama would have the highest increase in premiums, followed by Alaska.

Sawicky said, “In Alabama, for example, premiums would increase 164 percent from $156 a month to $411 under the BCRA. In Alaska, they would increase 142 percent from $334 a month to $802 a month.”

In addition to West Virginia, other states in the top 10 for largest projected premium increases are: Oklahoma, 140 percent; South Dakota, 111 percent; North Carolina, 109 percent; Louisiana, 105 percent; California, 103 percent; Nebraska, 99 percent and Hawaii and Montana, both at 89 percent.

Farther down the list, Pennsylvania is expected to have a 72-percent increase in premium costs under the proposal.

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