Health Insurer Is One of Few to Take Swings at G.O.P. Plan

In Economy, Healthcare On

LONG BEACH, Calif. — In recent weeks, Dr. J. Mario Molina has anxiously approached lawmakers on Capitol Hill and governors across the country, warning them that the Republican efforts to overhaul the health care system could be devastating for insurers and patients alike.

As head of the California company founded by his father, Dr. Molina has become one of the few insurance executives publicly criticizing the House bill, which he believes could strip away coverage for millions of their clients and cause considerable turmoil for the insurance industry. The major insurers have mostly stayed silent during the debate, supporting some of the Republicans’ provisions that promise near-term stability for the insurance exchanges and a repeal of a tax on health insurance.

Instead, Dr. Molina has made his case with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and insists they seemed receptive. “Our people have very meticulously analyzed this, and we can speak credibly about what all this means,” he said.

His concerns are shared quietly by much of the industry. In addition to worrying about adequate funding so low-income people can afford coverage, insurers are increasingly anxious about how to encourage healthy people to sign up, which balances out the costs of those who have high-cost medical conditions and results in lower average premiums.

The proposed Medicaid cuts may have more far-reaching implications than marketplace instability for a broad range of insurers. Companies that have already largely exited, including heavyweights like UnitedHealth and Aetna, view Medicaid as core to their business as states have increasingly turned to private insurers in recent years to offer plans to low-income residents.

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