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Partisan fighting in Congress over healthcare is on the horizon, as one of the nation’s insurance giants plans its exit from the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange, The Washington Post reports.

On Monday, Aetna said it would significantly reduce its participation in the Obamacare marketplace next year, exiting 11 of the 15 states where it now offers coverage. The company stated that not enough healthy people are signing up for coverage to offset the high cost of covering those with expensive illnesses.

The Affordable Care Act created insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, where people could shop online for health insurance and obtain a government subsidy based on their income.

But several of the largest insurance companies have announced financial losses. Cigna and Anthem, for instance, said they’re losing money. And Humana plans to scale back its exchange presence.

The Post spoke with experts who predict another round of political battles over Obamacare – this time over how to fix the president’s signature healthcare reform law.

“The idea of somehow repealing it is far-fetched, but changing it is not far-fetched,” Joseph Antos, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told the newspaper.

Zeke Emanuel, a former health policy adviser to President Barack Obama during his first term, adds:

“You have here a situation which all of us who care about the exchanges have to worry about. There is a problem with the risk pool. There is a problem with the numbers of people signing up.”

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations, told The Post that leading Republicans have said to her that they are open to fine-tuning Obamacare after the presidential election.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is trying to prevent several of the biggest health insurance companies from merging. The two planned mergers involve Aetna with Humana, and Anthem with Cigna.

A Department of Justice’s lawsuit stated:

“These mergers would reshape the industry, eliminating two innovative competitors — Cigna and Humana — at a time when the industry is experimenting with new ways to lower health care costs.”

Several states have joined the government’s lawsuit.

SOURCE: Washington Post, | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty


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