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Death Spiral: 1,409 Counties Projected to Have One Obamacare Exchange Insurer in 2018

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new report that next year 1,409 counties, over 40 percent of counties nationwide, will only have one health insurer on the Obamacare exchanges.

The CMS report also detailed that, in the new year, 17 counties will have no insurers. The government agency projected that more than 2.5 million Obamacare marketplace consumers could have only one choice of insurer next year and at least 9,595 Americans will live in counties that will not have any Obamacare coverage in the new year.

The CMS’s projection increased from recent reports. The CMS previously estimated that 1,332 counties would only have one health insurer next year.

The Obamacare exchange projection was released amid health insurers withdrawing from the federal marketplaces. American health insurance giant Anthem announced this week that it will exit the Obamacare exchanges in Nevada and roughly half of Georgia’s counties next year.

Anthem said in a statement, “Today, planning and pricing for ACA-compliant health plans has become increasingly difficult due to a shrinking and deteriorating individual market, as well as continual changes and uncertainty in federal operations, rules and guidance, including cost sharing reduction subsidies and the restoration of taxes on fully insured coverage.”

Molina Healthcare announced last week that they will exit the Obamacare exchanges in Utah and Wisconsin. Similarly to Anthem, Molina CEO Joseph White blamed the Obamacare exchanges’ unbalanced insurance pools, making it increasingly difficult to make a profit.

“Looking back on our involvement in Wisconsin and Utah, the populations in those states were probably not significant enough to move the needle for the company in a positive way,” White explained. “The cost experience certainly moved it in a negative way. But, frankly, I think the markets there were just so small as to just not offer a lot of upside.”

As Obamacare continues to collapse, President Donald Trump barbed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for failing to pass a repeal bill.

McConnell previously complained that President Trump had “excessive expectations” regarding Congress’ ability to pass significant legislation.

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