Anthem endorses Obamacare repeal bill

The CEO of Anthem, one of the nation’s largest insurers, has sent a letter to the GOP chairman of two committees in which he backs major elements of a GOP plan to replace Obamacare. From Politico:

Anthem, in a letter obtained by POLITICO, endorsed major parts of the repeal bill, known as the American Health Care Act, and urged lawmakers to move the process forward “as quickly as possible.”…

Anthem expressed support for bill provisions that would repeal Obamacare’s health insurance tax, temporarily continue the law’s cost-sharing subsidies, and allow customers to receive tax credits off the Obamacare exchanges.

Modern Healthcare reports the letter from Anthem also says, “The American Health Care Act addresses the challenges immediately facing the individual market and will ensure more affordable health plan choices for consumers in the short term.”

Anthem’s letter stands in contrast to a letter sent to congressional leaders Wednesday by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). AHIP’s letter called for changes in the GOP’s proposed replacement plan. From Modern Healthcare:

Marilyn Tavenner, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said in a letter to House leaders that the bill should be revised to offer premium tax credits that factor in both the age and income of a health plan member. She wrote that there should be larger subsidies for individuals with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level.

“Tax credits related to age as well as income will help ensure that more people stay covered, and are the most efficient and effective way to allocate tax-payer dollars,” she wrote.

Anthem is the nation’s 2nd largest insurer and currently offers plans in 14 states. Anthem’s CEO warned last year that the company would reconsider selling plans on Obamacare’s exchanges in 2018 unless the market improved in 2017. “The financial performance in individual ACA compliant products has been disappointing as membership has been short of our original expectations,” CEO Joseph Swedish said in November. That was before open enrollment numbers on the federal exchange came in lower than last year.

Last month, a proposed merger between leading insurers Anthem and Cigna appeared to collapse on the same day a similar merger between Aetna and Humana ended. At the time, Cigna announced it was abandoning the merger but Anthem argued Cigna did not have the right to do so unilaterally. The Obama Justice Department had sued to prevent both mergers.

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