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Obamacare

Obamacare’s public option alternative already looks like a failure

Politico | Posted on

A program meant to beef up competition on Obamacare exchanges may not add much to the mix of insurance options after all.

The Multi-State Plan Program — which was the closest thing to a watered-down “public option” that made it into the final health law — is eventually supposed to provide at least two new insurance options in every state.

The problem is that the only insurers likely to be able to quickly scale up coverage across the country are already doing just that: selling their plans from coast to coast.

The Affordable Care Act calls for the federal government to contract with two multistate plans — and one has to be a nonprofit. They have to be available in at least 31 states next year, although they don’t necessarily have to be available in every community in a state at the outset. Within four years, they have to be available nationwide. Having failed to get a government-run public option, backers wanted at least one nationwide, nonprofit alternative to compete with the standard commercial plans.

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