RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today after Optima Health announced it will be pulling back from some insurance markets across the Commonwealth:
“Optima’s announcement today is the latest evidence that the Trump Administration’s deliberate efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act are hurting families and damaging economies across this nation. My administration and I have been doing everything within our power to strengthen Virginia’s health care Marketplace. However, as we have heard from Optima and other insurers who have pulled back from Virginia markets, their decisions are being driven by instability and uncertainty that the President and Congress are creating through their inaction.
“This and other recent departures by insurers are avoidable if the President and Congress would simply follow the law and implement the Affordable Care Act as it is written. Unfortunately, their refusal to fulfill their legal obligation to properly fund the Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments and take other simple actions to strengthen the insurance markets have created too much uncertainty for these companies to be able to provide services in many places across the country.
“This is not about politics. It’s about people’s lives. It’s time for President Trump and Republicans in Congress to put their partisan agenda aside and stand up for the people who elected them to make their lives better. We need action to sustain the Affordable Care Act and we need it now. It is possible that with quick action by Congress and the President insurers could come back into the localities they have left.”
Unless President Trump and Congress act to bring insurers back to markets they have left, Optima’s decision will leave 63 Virginia localities with no health insurer available through the Marketplace in 2018. More than 62,000 people with current Marketplace plans live in those localities. Another six localities will only be partially covered. The void will be mostly in rural localities, where access to doctors and hospitals is already limited.
Earlier this year, Governor McAuliffe signed a letter with a bipartisan coalition of governors outlining steps Congress and the President can take to strengthen health insurance markets through the Affordable Care Act.