REPORT: GOP’s Efforts To Repeal Health Law Are Already Undermining The Success Of Reform

The Commonwealth Fund is out with a new report examining why enrollment trends in the Affordable Care Act’s high risk insurance pools — temporary coverage programs for uninsured people who can’t find coverage in the individual market — have generally fallen below expectations. Besides the obvious structural challenges, Jean P. Hall and Janice Moore also suggest that the GOP’s efforts to repeal the law may already be undermining the high risk insurance program:

— SHORT IMPLEMENTATION PERIOD: “Given the short implementation timeline, PCIP administrators did not have ample resources available to conduct extensive outreach at the outset of the program.”

— UNINSURED HAVE STOPPED LOOKING: “[P]eople with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for a long time may have stopped looking for insurance and may therefore be harder to reach via traditional outreach campaigns.”

— UNAFFORDABLE: “Because the PCIP coverage is based on the individual insurance market, premiums and out-of-pocket costs are generally higher than for people enrolled in group insurance plans.”

— MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE LAW: “In late 2010, for example, many heated election campaigns were declaring that health reform would soon be repealed and/or replaced, or at least de-funded…. Indeed, a February 2011 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that almost one-quarter of the American public believed that the Affordable Care Act had been repealed, while another quarter did not know the status of the law.”

Enrollment finally topped 20,000 in April and is expected to increase in the months ahead. Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services “announced that it would lower premiums in the 23 states where high-risk pools are operated by HHS. The remaining 27 sates run their own plans.”