Pedestrians pass by a Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina trailer at the downtown farmer's market in Raleigh, N.C., July 17, 2013.
Gerry Broome/AP

Can health insurance companies survive?


The Obama administration has pushed for the new health care law to improve Americans’ access to health insurance, but the insurers themselves are worried about ACA’s demands. 

Robert Zirkelback, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, said on Thursday’s The Daily Rundown, “If you have insurance reforms similar to what are included in the ACA and people don’t participate, then premiums skyrocket for everybody else; the market destabilizes.”

Taxes like the Health Insurance Tax, he said, are “doing nothing but adding to the cost of coverage at a time when we’re trying to get people to participate. It undermines the goal of healthcare reform,” Zirkelback said.

President Obama has said that the influx of people who currently don’t have insurance or who had to buy it on their own will create a larger market for insurance companies.

“It allows these Americans who have been locked out to get a better deal from insurers. They’re pooling their purchasing power as one big group. And insurers want their business, which means they give them a better deal. And they compete for that business,” said Obama in a speech Wednesday evening in Boston.

Zirkelback argues that while Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan has done a lot to help expand coverage, it still struggles to address the skyrocketing costs of healthcare.

“If we focus just on bringing people into the system and we don’t focus on addressing those underlying drivers and trying to make coverage more affordable, then it won’t be sustainable,” he said.

Zirkelback stressed the importance of having an individual mandate, a fixed enrollment period that doesn’t get moved and greater efforts to reduce healthcare costs to make the new system successful.

Health Care

Can health insurance companies survive?