Pinal County recently earned the unenviable distinction of becoming the first county in the country to be left without a single provider in its healthcare exchange.
These exchanges were a central pillar of the Affordable Care Act, and their demise means that for Pinal residents relying on subsidies that are provided only in the exchanges, there will not be a single available coverage option. In Maricopa County, residents are down to a single provider on the exchange. This is hardly the affordable care and choice Americans were promised.
But here’s the kicker: the folks in Pinal County are still required to be covered under the ACA’s individual mandate. There are exemptions for prisoners and members of Americorps, but not for residents who are left without options. That means that if they are unable to find a plan they can afford, they will be required to pay a fine.
Only in Washington could we find such an ill-conceived plan. Build skewed “marketplaces” that erode the choices we see in the free market, and when those fail, penalize individuals with higher taxes and strip their health insurance coverage.
Enter Arizona’s two U.S. Senators. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake introduced a bill this morning to exempt residents living in an area with fewer than two provider options from the individual mandate.
Let’s face the obvious: The entire law is in need of an extreme makeover.
As the Affordable Care Act continues to unravel, Arizonans can take some comfort in the knowledge that our two U.S. senators continue to fight for our best interests and against Obamacare’s empty promises.