Aetna Inc. is quitting Virginia’s Obamacare market for 2018, the second state that Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini is exiting as he seeks to limit his insurer’s risks from the beleaguered health law.

“We will not offer on- or off-exchange individual plans in Virginia,” Aetna said in an emailed statement, citing $200 million or more in losses the company anticipates this year on individual products. The insurer also cited “growing uncertainty in the marketplace” for the plans.

UnitedHealth Group Inc., which has largely stopped selling ACA health plans, said last month it was pulling out of Virginia. Also in April, Aetna said it wouldn’t sell Obamacare plans on Iowa’s market next year.

. . .

When you’re facing years of doctor’s appointments, you want to know that having a preexisting condition, such as an extra 21st chromosome or a heart defect, won’t prevent you or your loved ones from accessing the care you need. And despite what people are saying, House Republicans aren’t seeking to strip these protections—or anyone’s protections—away. Our effort to create a better health-care future for all Americans isn’t finished. Whether it’s allowing insurance to be purchased across state lines or implementing other insurance reforms, we will continue our work until every American has access to good-quality, affordable health care and our most vulnerable communities have peace of mind.

AHCA contains many important reforms, but it risks throwing millions of low-income Americans off of their health insurance plans. Senate Republicans can fix this—but only if they prioritize sound health care policy over short-term messaging. Improvements to the health care system need to do four things: (1) establish a functioning individual health insurance market by replacing Obamacare’s exchanges; (2) gradually raise Medicare’s eligibility age for future retirees so that more people in their sixties would buy individual coverage that is subsidized where needed; (3) gradually migrate certain populations out of Medicaid and into the individual market; (4) address the grab-bag of other health-reform problems like medical malpractice, hospital consolidation, drug pricing, and veterans’ health care.

. . .

Senate Republicans said Thursday they won’t vote on the House-passed bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, but will write their own legislation instead.

A Senate proposal is now being developed by a 12-member working group. It will attempt to incorporate elements of the House bill, senators said, but will not take up the House bill as a starting point and change it through the amendment process.

“The safest thing to say is there will be a Senate bill, but it will look at what the House has done and see how much of that we can incorporate in a product that works for us in reconciliation,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

. . .

This summary from the Kaiser Family Foundation describes key provisions of H.R. 1628, including: 1. Repeal ACA mandates, standards for health plan actuarial values, and premium and cost sharing subsidies; 2. Modify ACA premium tax credits for 2018-2019; 3. Retain private market rules; 4. Retain health insurance marketplaces, annual Open Enrollment periods, and special enrollment periods; 5. Impose late enrollment penalty for people who don’t stay continuously covered; 6. Establish State Patient and State Stability Fund with federal funding of $130 billion over 9 years, and additional funding of $8 billion over 5 years for states that elect community rating waivers; 7. Encourage use of Health Savings Accounts; 8. Convert federal Medicaid funding to a per capita allotment.

Republicans finally hit a home run with a 217-213 vote Thursday to pass a health care bill that will help millions of struggling Americans. They proved they can govern. Yet one of Republicans’ most notable successes is so far getting too little recognition. GOP negotiators embraced the only model that can ultimately see this bill successfully to President Trump’s desk: states’ rights. The compromise is far from perfect—concocted, as it was, under pressure, and with dozens of competing interests in the room. The Senate offers Republicans an opportunity to do much better by building on the idea’s model of states’ rights.
. . .