- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pounced Tuesday on Obamacare’s latest setback, saying Aetna’s decision to withdraw from nearly a dozen states is a sign that the law is “imploding” and should be repealed.

The Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer said will remain in just four states next year, making it the most recent insurer to beat a retreat from the program because it is losing money on its web-based exchanges.

Aetna’s decision to leave the Affordable Care Act’s public marketplaces is the latest blow to this broken law that is slowly imploding under its regulatory red tape,” said Dan Kowalski, deputy national policy director for the Trump campaign.

He also said “millions” of Americans saw their bare-bones plans canceled under Obamacare, because of new coverage requirements, and pointed to insurance mandates on employers that have forced some to trim payroll or slash part-timers’ hours to avoid triggering costly fines.

The statement marked a rare foray into health policy for the candidate, who’s mainly built his support around controversial stances on things like immigration and trade.

Mr. Trump has vowed to help congressional Republicans repeal Obamacare and start over, if elected, though he trails in the polls and Senate Republicans are clinging to tenuous majority in their chamber.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has vowed to build on President Obama’s signature domestic achievement, even proposing a government-run “public option” to help customers who are see dwindling choices in the marketplace.

Aetna, which covered more than 800,000 people this year, initially planned to expand its footprint in the Obamacare marketplace.

It signaled a major U-turn earlier this month, however, and on Monday confirmed it would leave leave 11 of the 15 states where it is operating, remaining in just Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia.

Its decision follows similar retreats by UnitedHealth Group and Humana.

The administration says other insurers are doing well in the marketplace, yet Obamacare’s opponents say the law’s steady trickle of economic woes suggest the law will continue to unwind, rather than correct itself over the long haul.

Aetna’s exit isn’t the beginning and it won’t be the end, but it is another unmistakable sign of Obamacare’s slow-motion death spiral,” Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, said. “With ugly withdraws, painful co-op failures, and rotten choices and costs, Obamacare’s collapse is crushing American families.”

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