The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced on Thursday that more than 6 million people across the country, including more than 6,000 Alaskans, have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the act that all three GOP senate candidates have vowed to work to repeal if they were elected to office. Enrollment is surging as the initial deadline to sign up approaches.
Candidate Dan Sullivan again sent out a press release, doubling down on his promise to work to repeal ObamaCare if elected.
What would happen to those more than 6 million who have signed up? Who knows? What would it be replaced with? Market based reforms, he said, but he shied from specifics. Tort reform is one such solution that’s often talked about in Republican circles. But most states have enacted some form of tort reform and it hasn’t helped. Alaska passed tort reform in 1997, and according to the American Medical Association, Alaska was one of five states where, between 1998 and 2007, an increase in population did not lead to a proportional increase in the number of doctors.
Buying insurance across state lines, is another GOP idea. It sounds good. Except experts roll their eyes when you mention it. Alaska has the highest medical costs of any place in the country, and we’re a sick bunch to boot. No reputable insurance company based in Virginia, say, or Delaware, who doesn’t already have a presence in this state is going to want to take Alaskans on.
If Sullivan focused on this issue, he might join the group of more thoughtful lawmakers who are talking about finding fixes for the law, fixes that wouldn’t leave those 6 million and many millions more who have yet to sign up, out in the cold.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org