The Affordable Care Act is unpopular.
The new House Republican ACA de-funding act proposal, the American Health Care Act bill draft, also seems to be unpopular.
Thumbtack, a San Francisco-based exchange for professional services, says that 55 percent of the small business owners want Congress to keep the ACA in place, and one-quarter say access to health insurance through the ACA was a factor in their decisions to start their businesses.
Another company, Mountain View, California-based eHealth Inc., the parent of eHealthInsurance.com, points out that most people who buy their health coverage think they buy it because they need it, not because of fear of tax penalties. Only 41 percent of the 500 individual health buyers the company surveyed said they thought the Internal Revenue Service would enforce the ACA individual mandate penalty for 2016 returns. Only 7 percent said they would cancel their coverage if the mandate were repealed.
I think the two surveys illustrate an important debate: Market forces have a way of doing what they want to do.
At some point, flood water rises above any mechanisms designed to control it and goes where it wants to go, regardless of how unpopular that flood might be.
The same is true of capital that could go into health insurance, and of people’s demand for health insurance.
Health insurers are meeting with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials in Washington about the fate of the 2018 individual health market right now. Any for-profit carriers, or carriers that have debt, are facing intense pressure to wash their hands of that market.