Anthem’s Decision To Pull Out Could Be Fatal Blow To Obamacare

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Analysts recently predicted that one of the largest health insurers of the US, Anthem, will pull out of Obamacare individual health insurance exchanges in 2018. A closer look at Anthem’s impending decision shows that if the health insurance giant pulls out, it will leave hundreds of thousands of Americans in several regions with absolutely no Obamacare health insurance options; which, in turn, could deal a fatal blow to Obamacare.

According to Bloomberg, in a research note released on Thursday, David Styblo and David Windley, analysts at research firm Jefferies, wrote that Anthem “is leaning toward exiting a high percentage of the 144 rating regions in which it currently participates.”

Earlier last month, Axios.com also published a report, which, in collaboration with the health care research team at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that over 200,000 people would be left without any insurance and without further options on the Obamacare exchange if Anthem does pull out. Furthermore, over 500,000 people will have only one health insurance option.

CNBC has also reported that Anthem covers over 800,000 individual plans in 14 states, making it one of the largest insurance companies of the nation.

Jefferies’ report was published after the analysts met with Anthem’s management. According to the analysts, “regulatory advocacy needs to progress significantly in the next month or so,” if the Obamacare exchanges hope to retain Anthem, CNBC reported.

The report regarding Anthem comes in the wake of Republicans’ discussions in the House of Representatives over how to move ahead with the American Health Care Act, the House GOP’s alternative to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Speaker Pau Ryan pull the bill off the floor on March 24, after it became apparent that numerous conservatives had decided to vote against it.

Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus, said last Thursday that the American Health Care Act is now “much closer” to passing that it was ever.

“We’ve moved it much closer,” the Washington Examiner reports Meadows as saying. “All they have to do is kick a little chip shot through the goal posts.”

According to a report by the Washington Examiner, Meadows is of the belief that the bill could easily pass the house if Speaker Ryan amends the AHCA to eliminate the Obamacare “Essential Health Benfits” mandates and “Community Rating” controls.