Notable healthcare company becomes first to endorse GOP proposal

Anthem Inc., the nation’s second-largest health insurance company, endorsed the Senate Republican’s healthcare legislation Monday, saying that the bill would have a stabilizing effect on the individual market.

Anthem’s position runs counter to that of doctors, hospitals, patient groups and other health plans that have labeled the bill as harmful. Non-government experts have also criticized the legislation, warning that its implementation could destabilize the individual marketplace.

In its endorsement statement, Anthem said, “We believe the Senate discussion draft will markedly improve the stability of the individual market and moderate premium increases” because it appropriates billions of dollars in short-term funding to secure the exchanges, provides cost sharing reduction funds, and eliminates a tax on health insurance plans.

According to Politico, Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees on Thursday in support of portions of the American Health Care Act in which he said that the legislation “addresses the challenges immediately facing the individual market and will ensure more affordable health plan choices for consumers in the short term.”

Anthem has announced plans to withdraw from ObamaCare exchanges in Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio in 2017, citing uncertainty over the future of insurer payments among the reasons for their decision.

The BlueCross BlueShield Association, of which Anthem is a member, also voiced its support for the new legislation’s efforts to stabilize the marketplace. If passed, the bill would provide a $50 billion “stability fund” through 2021.

“The state stability and innovation program will also go a long way in helping to cover the costs of caring for those with significant medical needs,” BCBSA said in a statement.

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