Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City announced on Wednesday that it was pulling out of the Obamacare exchange for 2018, a move that will affect around 67,000 customers in Wyandotte and Johnson Counties in Kansas as well as parts of western Missouri.
The Star’s Andy Marso and Bryan Lowry have a comprehensive piece detailing the company’s rationale for the decision as well as how it will impact people who currently get their healthcare through the exchange.
Losses of more than $100 million in the marketplace as well as the lack of certainty about where federal healthcare law is headed prompted the decision, company leaders said. As Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City CEO Danette Wilson told the Kansas City Business Journal, “the uncertain direction of this market is a barrier to our continued participation.”
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Lieutenant Gov. Jeff Colyer, a plastic surgeon, have been outspoken opponents of the Affordable Care Act, and have vehemently opposed efforts to expand Medicaid in Kansas under the bill. Both issued statements in reaction to the news:
- Governor Sam Brownback: “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s exit from the ObamaCare marketplace leaves two of Kansas’ three largest counties with only one vendor on the exchange. ObamaCare’s death spiral is growing worse, and there is a better way. We urge Congress and the President to continue their work to repeal and replace ObamaCare and make healthcare more affordable for Kansans.”
- Lieutenant Governor Dr. Jeff Colyer: “The decision by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City to exit the exchange is another nail in the coffin of ObamaCare. Congress must keep their promise to repeal this failing program and empower a competitive healthcare system that keeps costs low for Kansas families.”
Brownback and Colyer weren’t the only politicians with constituents in northeast Johnson County to react to the news. Rep. Kevin Yoder, who voted in favor of the American Health Care Act promoted by Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump three weeks ago, chimed in as well:
- Rep. Kevin Yoder: “With today’s news, there will be no insurance option at all for tens of thousands of families unless a new provider enters the market. This news is a devastating blow for Kansans who won’t get to keep their plans or their doctors next year. Congress must continue its rescue mission to fix our broken health care system, and provide working families the relief they need – bringing insurers back to the marketplace, lowering costs, and increasing access to care.”
The Congressional Budget Office released its scoring of the American Health Care Act yesterday, finding that it would leave 23 more Americans uninsured by 2026 while reducing federal budget deficits by $119 billion over the same period.