Anxiety is described as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about something with an uncertain outcome. Symptoms can include rapid heart rate, heavy breathing, sweaty palms, and difficulty focusing.
Lawmakers in Washington are likely experiencing some of these symptoms as they begin the process of dismantling the Affordable Care Act. President Trump and the Republican-controlled House made a campaign promise to repeal the law immediately after taking office. They’re now finding that the process of making good is a bit more complicated.
The ACA jitters are also prevalent in our home state, which operates its own Exchange and has a large, benefit-rich Medicaid program. New York is one of 32 states that chose to expand Medicaid and offer a Medicaid-like product called The Essential Plan. According to New York officials, the state stands to lose $3.7 billion dollars if that federal funding is pulled.
Politicians aren’t the only ones feeling a bit uneasy. The uncertainty is causing a bit of angst among health plans, like CDPHP. If the state loses federal funding, questions remain about the affordability of care for millions of Medicaid members. Insurers also like predictability. The state requires us to submit our rates for approval almost a year before they hit the market. That means, we need to know who we’re covering, how much they might cost, and what rules there are over their benefits. At this point, all of those questions remain unanswered.
Last but certainly not least, consumers are also feeling anxious about the future of health care in America. And rightfully so. They’re the ones footing the bills! In 2016, per capita health care costs exceeded $10,000 for the first time in the U.S. and are now the leading cause of bankruptcy among Americans. Individuals, families, and small and large business owners are all feeling the pressure as they face higher insurance premiums, rising deductibles, and increased taxes. And, the ACA did very little to address the true drivers of health care costs.
All of this news can be a bit overwhelming. But I think it’s important for all of us – elected officials, health plans, and consumers alike – to take a few deep breaths and focus on the actions that will improve our health care system long-term.
Like most not-for-profit health plans, CDPHP is deeply committed to the community we serve. Regardless of what happens in Washington, we plan to continue providing services that improve and protect the health and financial security of our consumers, families, businesses, and community. The way we achieve this is by promoting consumer choice and market competition; simplifying the health care experience; supporting partnerships with government; partnering with providers; and harnessing data and technology to drive quality, efficiency, and consumer satisfaction.
Together, these commitments will not only make health care better, but will strengthen our nation and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans.
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