Virginia state Sen. Bryce Reeves is running Facebook ads claiming he “championed” higher-quality and lower-priced health care legislation, but an analysis showed that his bills would have increased premiums and slashed protections for pre-existing conditions.
Reeves, a Republican seeking a third term in November, started running the ads last week, emphatically claiming he sponsored bills to “give families more options and better healthcare at a lower cost.”
But his record tells a different story.
In February, Reeves sponsored two bills that would allow insurance providers to sell short-term health plans that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s regulations, making them cheaper for individual customers but a potential burden on the rest of the insurance market.
Short-term plans are less expensive than ACA-compliant ones, but they typically limit coverage of pre-existing conditions and exclude coverage for maternity care, prescription drugs or mental health services, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Both of Reeves’ bills were ultimately vetoed by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who said short-term plans “would allow insurance carriers and individuals to circumvent the protections in the Affordable Care Act” and increase premiums for plans in the state’s insurance marketplace by 19 percent, citing a study from the Urban Institute.
“The lower premiums will likely prove attractive to people who are healthy, especially those buying their own coverage now who have incomes too high to qualify for ACA premium subsidies,” according to Kaiser’s analysis.
That would leave ACA plans with sicker pools of enrollees, driving up costs for them.
In March 2018, Reeves co-sponsored two other similar bills, including one allowing the sale of “catastrophic” health plans, which come at low monthly premiums but have high deductibles of about $8,000, meaning policyholders would have to pay that much out of pocket before insurance kicked in.
Northam vetoed both bills, saying the catastrophic plans “would place consumers at risk of being underinsured and would fragment Virginia’s federal Marketplace risk pool, leading to rapidly increasing premiums” and “would allow insurance carriers and individuals to circumvent the protections in the Affordable Care Act.”