Posted: 10/25/16 14:14
by Dave Mindeman
I realize it is important for the MN Republicans to create a pseudo hysteria over Minnesota healthcare, but everybody needs to calm down and look at the facts.
It is unfortunate that Governor Dayton phrased his comment as if all of the ACA has become "unaffordable" - that is simply an exaggeration. He was referring to the individual market, which makes up about 5% of our citizens. And if you take away the people who participate in the exchange that get subsidies based on income, it is more like 2.5 or 3%
Essentially, about 100,000 people.
Let's remember the data here.
Using 2015 data from Kaiser Health, here is how Minnesota breaks down:
Employee benefit insurance = 56%
Medicaid recipients = 14%
Medicare eligible = 15%
Vets & Other public insurance = 1%
Non-group insurance = 8% (2015 data) - lower now
And uninsured = 6% (which is lower now) Nationally = 9% (also lower now)
Alright. So the large majority of Minnesotans are finding their insurance to be pretty stable. There are still increases across the board, just as there were prior to the ACA, but the spike in Individual plans premiums is the part we are concerned about.
Now, let's go back. During the first year of the ACA in Minnesota, we had unusually low premiums to begin with. A lot of people were scratching their heads about that, but it was a pleasant surprise.
Then it turned out that the insurance carriers misinterpreted the actual market with all of the pre-existing conditions now included. They lost money, but still went with modest increases in the 2nd year. Again, they did not get a handle on the market place and lost money again. Which led to a panic and a lot of carriers just bailing on the market altogether.
Now, I think they are being unrealistic the other way and over compensating.
But despite all of that, the current premiums with these large increases are almost exactly where the ACA data people predicted the Minnesota market would be. It just looks worse because the catch up point has required a large increase over the previous premiums.
Another caveat to keep in mind. In the original ACA bill there was a risk pool built in. It was assumed that during the transition there would be these fluctuations as the market settled out to a more predictable model. The risk pool would compensate carrier losses in certain instances where good faith premiums were grossly under valued.
However, the Republicans wiped out that risk pool - they felt is was just added on subsidizing - and put the insurance carriers at higher risk. And their reaction has been to abandon the market altogether.
So when you hear the MN Republicans go into their "death spiral" dogma, just step back and remember that this is fixable - if the legislature is willing to fix it.
As I like to point out - 11 days ago, Kurt Daudt went to the press and put together these dire talking points - asking for a special session for a health care emergency.
Gov. Dayton is willing to do that, if the leadership in the House and Senate come together with a bipartisan plan. But during the ensuing 11 days, Daudt has not negotiated anything. He has not acted on anything. And is pretty much AWOL from his declared emergency.
The Senate has a plan. The House wants the political issue.
There you go - an attempt to explain the situation.