Augusta, MAINE – Earlier today, Senator Collins’ office distributed to the media a report by The Hill newspaper citing a study conducted by the consulting firm Avalere as evidence that the two bills she wants to pass before the end of the year would “cancel out” the premium increases resulting from a repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate.
However, Avalere’s study does not take into account all of the effects of repealing the individual mandate – a critical fact that Senator Collins’ office is conveniently ignoring.
A more thorough report by the Washington Examiner quotes Avalere’s own experts as noting the stabilization and reinsurance bills that Senator Collins is pushing “could be overshadowed by the consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which is included in the Senate’s version of the tax reform bill.” From the Washington Examiner:
“Avalere experts note, however, that these stabilizing effects could be overshadowed by the consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which is included in the Senate’s version of the tax reform bill. Avalere’s modeling makes estimates relative to current law and does not assume the individual mandate is repealed, but the Congressional Budget Office has estimated increased premiums and reduced enrollment in the exchanges if it happens, and Avalere acknowledged that this change would have an impact.
“‘While funding reinsurance and cost-sharing reductions would help mitigate the impact of mandate repeal, eliminating the requirement to purchase coverage would create additional uncertainty in the market,’ said Elizabeth Carpenter, senior vice president at Avalere. ‘As a result, it is important not to overlook the negative impact of repealing the individual mandate on long-term market stability.’”
Additionally, both the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have repudiated Senator Collins’ argument, saying that her bills would not do nearly enough to mitigate the impact of repeal of the ACA individual mandate.
Also, when it comes to the problem of enrollment, Collins’ office did not point out that Avalere found in the same study, as reported by The Hill, that:
“The Congressional Budget Office estimates 4 million fewer people would have coverage in 2019 without the mandate. Avalere projects that would be only partially made up for by the two bipartisan bills, which would result in 1.3 million more people enrolling.”
And this does not even begin to consider that both House Speaker Paul Ryan, as well as conservative House members, are already throwing cold water on the deal Senator Collins struck with Majority Leader to pass these bills in exchange for her vote, which throws into jeopardy the chances of them passing. However, in the meantime, Senator Collins’ bad vote on tax reform has advanced a bill that would give massive tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires, and giant corporations at the expense of middle class Mainers and add an estimated more than $1 trillion to the deficit.
To read Senator Collins’ misleading release to the press, click HERE.