A recent hearing held by the House Ways and Means Committee on Rising Health Insurance Premiums discussed the issues such as barriers in healthcare access, and on how increased premium rate will affect the citizens of America. This Rising Health Insurance Premiums is controlled by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the rate of this premium has been gradually increasing over the years.
It was rumored that the increased rate of insurance premium urged the committee to hold a hearing to revoke a few policies of the ACA. However, the members, who attended the hearing, have collectively agreed that some changes in the policy are inevitable. The members of the witness panel included Christopher Condeluci, Principal of CC Law & Policy, Peter Lee, Executive Director of Covered California (the ACA Exchange in California), Joel White, President of Council for Affordable Health Coverage, and Tom Harte, President of Landmark Benefits.
A major part of the hearing concentrated on the factors that are responsible for high insurance premiums and how the increased insurance premium rate is affecting average citizens. Many of the American citizens find it extremely difficult to purchase insurance due to the high insurance premium rate. One of the witnesses, Joel White, stated that while healthcare costs are increasing faster than the economy, the cost of premiums are rising thrice as faster than the wages.
The hearing further discussed on several other issues and one of the most significant one among them was coverage versus access issue. However, the number of uninsured individuals has reached a historic minimum and only 9.1 percent of the total American citizens are uninsured. Yet, this number raises many concerns. The uninsured people have no access to proper healthcare due to the increased premium rate, which they are not capable of paying.
A few individuals have actually enrolled in the insurance program, but they were unable to complete the overall payment. Nonetheless, one of the witness members, Tom Harte, mentioned that the premium cost for affordable care is reasonable and options such as deductibles and co-pays are also available to the citizens.
Committee members also revealed reports that confirmed that the hike in insurance premium happened after the ACA implementation. The reports also suggest that individuals were able to pay the premium costs with ease before the ACA implementation. Covered California Executive Director, Peter Lee, responded to this stating that a minimum of three coverage plans are available to approximately 90 percent of American citizens. He also claimed that the premium costs were increasing prior to ACA implementation.