Analysis of Trumpcare Says Alaska Would Be Impacted Twice As Much As Any Other State

 

A new analysis of the Obamacare repeal and replace proposal being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives this week by the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says Alaskans would see their healthcare tax credits cut by almost twice as much as any other state.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The House Republican health plan would give consumers in the health insurance marketplace nationally an average of $1,700 less help with premiums in 2020, compared to the ACA’s premium tax credits, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The losses would be larger for older and lower-income consumers, and lower-income consumers would also lose help with deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. Consumers’ costs would probably increase even more than tax credits would fall, since the House plan would likely cause individual market premiums to rise.”

“The impact would be even more severe for people in high-cost states. Consumers in 11 high-cost states would see their tax credits to purchase health coverage fall by more than $3,000 on average — or more than 50 percent.  That’s because unlike the ACA’s tax credits, the House plan’s tax credits wouldn’t adjust for geographic variation in insurance premiums; they’d be the same for a 45-year-old consumer in Alaska, where benchmark health insurance coverage costs $12,600 this year on average, as in New Hampshire, where it costs $3,600.”

The report goes on to specifically cite Alaska as a state particularly vulnerable to changes made in the GOP plan.

Alaska’s Individual Market Is Especially At Risk

Since long before the ACA, Alaska’s health insurance market has faced very serious challenges. Due in part to low population density and high provider and insurer concentration, Alaska has consistently had some of the highest premiums in the nation for employer-sponsored, as well as individual-market, health insurance.

While structural challenges in insurance markets remain, the share of Alaskans without health insurance has fallen sharply under the ACA. One important reason is that the ACA’s premium tax credits adjust for local costs, making health insurance affordable to thousands of Alaskans for the first time. Because of its unusually high premiums, Alaska receives by far the highest per-person premium tax credits in the country, averaging $11,600 per marketplace consumer on an annualized basis for 2017, compared to an average of $4,600 across all HealthCare.gov states.c Even before fully implementing the Medicaid expansion, Alaska saw its adult uninsured rate fall sharply, reflecting the fact that low- and moderate-income Alaskans were finally able to purchase health insurance in the individual market.d

The House plan would almost certainly reverse most or all of these gains, and it could plunge Alaska’s individual market into an even more severe crisis. Where tax credits would fall by an average of $2,100 or 41 percent for marketplace consumers across all HealthCare.gov states, they would fall by an average of $10,200 or 78 percent in Alaska.

For Alaska, therefore, the consequences of the House plan would be similar to the consequences of the 2015 ACA repeal bill vetoed by President Obama. CBO estimated that bill, which completely eliminated tax credits to help purchase health insurance, would have caused most states’ individual markets to collapse — almost certainly including Alaska’s.

You can read the full report and state impact analysis here.

 

  • ratfishtim

    Lisa Murkowski has said she opposes any bill that affects Alaskans on Medicaid, which this bill does). Don Young issued a statement saying he is reviewing the bill, but did not take a position.

    Dan Sullivan appears to have said nothing yet about a proposal to harm thousands of his constituents. Why?

    • Casey Reynolds

      Well, in fairness to Sen. Sullivan, this bill just came out Monday. It hasn’t even been scored by CBO yet. It is very possible he and his staff are still reviewing it and figuring out what they think before deciding to speak. The time will come when Alaskans can reasonably demand to know where he stands on it, but I would say that time isn’t for another week or so.

      • ratfishtim

        Very true. But the fact that it just came out Monday, and there is no CBO score yet, hasn’t:
        1. stopped most Senators from stating a position on it.
        2. stopped 2 House committees from approving it, with some Senators- including Cotton- urging the legislative process to slow down until everyone can look it.
        3. Kellyanne Conway from guaranteeing it will pass (using alternative facts, probably).

        It seems to me, especially when looking at the impact of the proposal- with emphasis on the extreme adverse impact o Alaska as your article pointed out so well- on subject important and of concern to most American if not all Americans- Sen. Sullivan could have offered a comment to the effect that he and staff are reviewing the bill.

        And enough information is out there already (Medicaid expansion being rolled back, mental health services being dropped as a condition of mandatory coverage) so that he could offer his preliminary thoughts in support or opposed to such provisions.

  • Lynn Willis

    Thanks Casey. As usual Alaska is the square peg in a matrix of round holes. That always seems to be the case with us yet we have so many local politicians (mostly from the right) who carry water for these national groups like Americans For Prosperity (AFP), and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)) .

    For seven years the Republican Party, both locally and nationally. has done nothing to fix the original ACA. Americans will not set people outside the Hospital to die in the parking lot for lack of insurance and employer provided health care was dying on the vine seven years ago, yet they refuse to deal with those realities. Everyone knows that the fatal flaw in the original ACA is the lack of the mandate to insure oneself (interesting that both ObamaCare and TrumpCare are also known as the ACA). Now in seven days these Republicans think they can “repeal and replace”. Absent divine intervention, that effort will now fail and any idea that they can then continue to do nothing and blame the Democrats will be as successful as if they tried to make Nitroglycerine in their home kitchens. .

  • akbatgirly

    Well, here we are, 5 days later and I think that Lynn and ratfish were correct in their original assessments. “Trumpcare” is total crap. I’ve been insured constantly for my entire life, and there were times that I had double coverage, it was that important to me with the family history that I have. For the first time in my life, I am now suggesting to my husband and family that we take the risk and go without.