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Number of Insurers Offering Coverage through Obamacare Exchanges Drops in Half

On Monday the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that only 141 health insurers filed applications to offer health plans through the federal Obamacare exchanges in 2018.  As the graph below shows, that’s half as many insurers submitting applications as in 2016.

Issuer_participation

Here’s how Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price explained the depth of the problem:

The situation has never been more dire. Americans are continuing to lose what health coverage they have and are forced to choose from fewer options or pay the IRS for the right to go without. This further limits their access to the doctors and healthcare services they need.

Congress must act now to repair the damage Obamacare has inflicted and put in place a patient-centered system that is responsive to the needs of individuals and families, not the demands of Washington.

Yet despite all this news of crumbling markets, Republicans continue to struggle to make the case that America needs immediate relief from Obamacare’s regulations. Their plans to repeal and replace Obamacare have been hammered in the media for the estimates of people who will “lose” coverage by the Congressional Budget Office.

These media reports rarely contrast these predictions of coverage losses with the actual losses families are experiencing right now.  Today, average premiums are double what they were in 2013 and, as the above chart shows, insurance choices are dwindling.   Charts are good, but Republicans need to start telling more real-life stories of people forced to pay painful premium increases for less coverage.

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