House Hearing Critical of ACA Exchange Performance as Democrats Tee Up Public Option

September 16, 2016

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing this week on a number of problems facing the Affordable Care Act exchanges, including increasingly limited consumer health insurance options, unpredictable operational costs, and significant potential for fraud.  The hearing highlighted two new Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports, one of which concluded the ACA exchanges are "vulnerable to fraud" as every one of the fictitious applications with fake documents the Office submitted to the exchanges were approved.  The second GAO report found that in most states the three largest issuers in each exchange had at least 80 percent of the market share.  Separately, top Senate Democrats introduced a new resolution that calls for every American to have the choice of a public health insurance option.  According to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), "At a time when 29 million people are still uninsured, and 31 million are underinsured, we must continue to make needed health care reforms… Insurance companies have shown they are more concerned with serving their shareholders than their customers."  At least a half-dozen progressive organizations, including the AFL-CIO, will try to build momentum around Hillary Clinton's call for a public option and tee up the proposal as a legislative priority for 2017.