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Speculation About Cause Of Aetna Withdrawal From Federal Healthcare Exchanges

After Aetna decided to pull out of the state this week, one Arizona county is currently without a company to cover those eligible for the Affordable Care Act.

Aetna was reportedly making good on a threat to retreat from Obamacare after their merger with Humana was rejected by The Obama Justice Department.  

The move leaves about 10,000 residents of Pinal County who need the coverage, currently without an option for it in 2017.

Pinal Health Director Tom Schryer though, said he takes Aetna’s word for it that they were losing too much money to stay in the exchange.

“I’m just a health director in a rural county, but I suspect if they could make money, they would make money in my county and all the other counties they are pulling out of,” Schryer said.

Others feel political payback is a factor.

Suzanne Pfister, President and CEO of the Vitalyst Health Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy foundation based in Phoenix, believes Aetna’s sudden withdrawal deserves a closer examination.

“It’ll be important for Aetna to explain what they meant and why they’ve done this," Pfister said. "It’s hard not to believe there were not some political overtones.”

Both agree parts of the ACA need reworking to balance the pool of healthy and sick and ensure healthcare companies don’t lose money on the coverage.

Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.