U.S. Rep. Andy Barr has stated repeatedly at town-hall meetings this year that the Affordable Care Act is in a death spiral and needs to be replaced. One can argue whether his solution, the American Health Care Act, is worse than the problem. However, one cannot argue that insurance companies have left the exchanges and those that remain have raised premiums.
But, why have insurance companies lost money by selling health insurance to people? Why was nothing done to address the problem as companies left the exchanges or raised premiums? Someone must have realized a problem was occurring that needed a solution?
The ACA did. It defined “risk corridors” where matching premiums with the actual cost of coverage could be extremely difficult. Language in the ACA allowed the government to help insurance companies by reimbursing them for a significant portion of their losses. However, the GOP inserted language into the 2015 appropriations act that forbid this reimbursement. Consequently, insurance companies lost money and left the exchanges or increased premiums significantly to compensate
When those companies left places like Kentucky, Barr and other GOP members proclaimed the exchanges were in a death spiral and failing. It’s like stabbing a patient in the back and then complaining he is dying.