The Republican plan to kill off Obamacare’s individual mandate would affect the entire country, but its biggest effect would likely be in sparsely-populated rural areas. According to an LA Times analysis, insurers there would either pull out entirely or else raise rates drastically because the pool of customers is so small:
That could leave consumers in these regions — including most or all of Alaska, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming, as well as parts of many other states — with either no options for coverage or health plans that are prohibitively expensive. There are 454 counties nationwide with only one health insurer on the marketplace in 2018 and where the cheapest plan available to a 40-year-old consumer costs at least $500 a month. Markets in these places risk collapsing if Congress scraps the individual insurance mandate.
….Eighty-six percent of these 454 at-risk counties have fewer than 50,000 residents, census data show. Healthcare costs are often higher in rural areas, as there are fewer medical providers and populations tend to be older and sicker. These counties also overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump last year, with 9 out of 10 backing the Republican presidential ticket, according to election data.
It’s yet another way that Donald Trump is screwing the very people who put him in office. Most of these folks don’t seem to realize it, though. They’ll either blame Democrats or else shrug and figure that at least Trump hates the same people they do.