Murkowski’s tax cut lies are going to catch up with her when Alaskans can’t buy health insurance

Murkowski’s tax cut lies are going to catch up with her when Alaskans can’t buy health insurance

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) really, really wants to vote for tax cuts for rich people. So much so that she’s lying to her constituents about how much Alaska would be hurt by it. She says that repealing the Obamacare mandate is no big deal and won’t have any bad impact back home because it’s just giving people the choice of whether or not to get health insurance. But for Alaska and a handful of other very red states that’s very, very wrong according to a Los Angeles Times data analysis.

That could leave consumers in these regions—including most or all of Alaska, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming, as well as parts of many other states—with either no options for coverage or health plans that are prohibitively expensive.

There are 454 counties nationwide with only one health insurer on the marketplace in 2018 and where the cheapest plan available to a 40-year-old consumer costs at least $500 a month. Markets in these places risk collapsing if Congress scraps the individual insurance mandate.

“It’s very, very concerning to us,” said Denise Burke, healthcare analyst at the Department of Insurance in Wyoming, where the cheapest plan for a 40-year-old consumer in most of the state will cost $586 a month next year. […]

The risk is greatest in places where health insurance is already very expensive and where there are few insurers.

That’s Alaska, as well as rural parts of a number of states beyond those listed above—”southwestern Arizona, western Colorado, southern Mississippi, central North Carolina, as well as parts of Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia.” Sparse populations with small pools to draw from mean less competition among insurers, higher costs for them, and thus higher premiums.

Real experts in healthcare and tax policy, like the Congressional Budget Office and the American Academy of Actuaries, are warning about the exodus getting rid of the individual mandate could cause, and how much that could increase premiums and how many people would be driven out of their coverage because of cost. So are all the health groups.

Jam your senators’ phone lines at (202) 224-3121. Tell them to vote “no” on the Republican tax bill.

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