Mike Kreidler, the Washington state insurance commissioner, today told Congress that the Affordable Care Act individual health insurance market system is working well in his jurisidction.
“It has had a profoundly positive impact on the state of Washington,” Kreidler testified today at a hearing on state health insurance markets organized by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that was streamed live on the Web.
Congressional committees that organize hearings usually have members from the majority party pick most of the witnesses and members of the minority party pick the rest.
Republicans brought in Mary Taylor, the Ohio insurance commissioner; J.P. Wieske, Wisconsin’s deputy insurance commissioner; and Nick Gerhart, Iowa’s insurance commissioner.
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None of those three states has tried to set up a state-based health insurance exchange, and Iowa is the only one of the three that has taken ACA Medicaid expansion.
Washington state has set up a state-based exchange and taken Medicaid expansion money.
Iowa and Ohio are home to Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan carriers that have already failed. Ohio and Washington state are home to CO-OPs that are still in business but are struggling.
Gerhart said Iowa now has more Medicaid enrollees than it did in 2013, before the major ACA individual health insurance market changes and programs came to life, but fewer purchasers of commercial coverage.
“Significant debate remains about whether improved access could have been achieved through much more efficient market mechanisms,” Gerhart testified.
Gerhart, Taylor and Wieske said consumers are paying more in their states and getting fewer coverage choices.
Kreidler insisted that the effects of the ACA on stays that did their best to implement at it have been good for the residents of states like his.