Large parts of western Virginia– including almost all of the Sixth Congressional District– will not have any health insurance available through the Affordable Care Act in 2018, The Roanoke Times reports.
Insurers blame President Donald Trump for making subsidies unreliable and Congress for failing to stabilize the market.
Virginia Secretary of Health Dr. Bill Hazel said Tuesday that Washington had manufactured this crisis, which will affect about 70,000 of the 350,000 Virginians who purchase policies on the exchange.
“They are the ones who have to fix it,” he said. “Our hands are all but tied.”
Hazel said he has been meeting with Virginia insurers, but none is willing to reenter the market as long as federal cost-sharing reduction payments are at risk. The payments are subsidies to lower-income people to help cover out-of-pocket expenses of high deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, said several governors have stepped up to find ways to keep exchanges running in their states.
“I hope Gov. McAuliffe will consider a way to do this as well,” he said.
Goodlatte, whose district is widely affected by the insurers’ pullout, said the problem was created by the Affordable Care Act.
“Unfortunately, the collapse of insurance exchanges shouldn’t be a surprise. From the very beginning, many have said, I included, that this law is simply unworkable and the systems put into place by it will not adequately serve American families. Now, those chickens have come home to roost,” Goodlatte said.
So having done virtually everything in his power since the ACA was enacted in 2010 to kill or undermine rather than fix the law that provides affordable insurance to tens of millions of Americans (including more than 30,000 in the Sixth District), Goodlatte blames the law itself and looks to Gov. McAuliffe for a solution.
Sorry, Congressman. If tens of thousands of your constituents lose their health insurance next year, the blame will lie with you, your Republican colleagues and your Republican president.