Democratic Senators Attack Aetna for Withdrawing From Obamacare Exchanges

Aetna spokesperson says Obamacare is unsustainable and in need of reform

doctor
AP

Democratic senators including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) have written a letter to Aetna, attacking the company for withdrawing from the Obamacare exchanges.

On Aug. 15, Aetna announced that it would drop out of 11 of the 15 states where it offers health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act because it had experienced a total pretax loss of $430 million since January 2014.

The Democratic senators called Aetna’s retreat from Obamacare "inexplicable and irresponsible." "You must now answer both to your shareholders and to the thousands of Americans who trusted Aetna with their health coverage," the senators said.

The senators wrote in the letter that Aetna’s decision to leave the Obamacare exchanges were because the Justice Department challenged Aetna’s decision to merge with Humana.

"We are particularly troubled that Aetna’s decision to leave the ACA exchanges appears to have been motivated by the Justice Department’s decision to challenge Aetna’s proposed $37 billion merger with Humana—a deal that the Justice Department and many experts predicted would harm competition in the health insurance market," the senators wrote.

However, an Aetna spokesperson refutes their claim, saying their letter ignores the reality of Obamacare and says the health care law is in need of reform.

"We are one of many insurers, large and small, that has been forced to reduce its public exchange participation due to an increasingly unstable marketplace," TJ Crawford, an Aetna spokesperson said to Business Insider. "This isn’t a recent development as more than 40 companies exited certain geographies for the 2016 plan year."

"Singling Aetna out may be politically convenient during election season, but this letter ignores realities and takes the focus away from needed reforms," said Crawford. "The ACA is not sustainable without bipartisan action that improves access, affordability and quality of care for consumers."