The pledge by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act has reignited debate over needed reforms.
As chief executive officer of Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, one of only five Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans still standing nationwide since their formation under the ACA, I have a unique perspective regarding potential solutions and improvements to the ACA. Our CO-OP’s membership is primarily comprised of individuals purchasing on the ACA exchange, and, unlike a private insurance carrier, our non-profit health insurance cooperative focuses solely on member needs, without the influence of external shareholders.
It is disheartening that the security of our members’ health insurance coverage is caught up in this political battle. Every decision we make puts our members at the forefront, and I implore Congress to apply that same philosophy to this debate — do what’s best for Americans rather than for your political party. If that was the case, rather than a repeal and replacement of the ACA, Congress would conduct a careful evaluation of what has worked and what has not and then implement effective reforms. This would provide ACA enrollees the security of knowing their coverage will not be taken away and would also assure the American people that our leaders are doing all that they can to address the costs of health care and health insurance.
Our members are very interested in lower health insurance premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs, and we support an overhaul aimed at fixing problems with the ACA. But what’s missing from the political debate is a real examination of why health insurance premiums and consumer out-of-pocket costs are rising at a rate our economy can’t support.
There seems to be consensus on continuing to provide access to health insurance even with pre-existing conditions, yet there is also interest in reviving high-risk pools. How does one enroll in a high risk pool without a review of a consumer’s pre-existing conditions? This is but one example of how complicated this is and the need for a deep understanding of the health insurance and health care systems.