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ObamaCare’s predictable collapse

by Rick Manning     •     The Hill

Obamacare NeedleEveryone knew that it was just a matter of time, but no one expected it to fail this fast. Yet, that is exactly what is happening, as bad news story after bad news story about the state of ObamaCare arrives on a seemingly weekly basis.

ObamaCare co-ops were supposed to provide lower cost health insurance alternatives because they weren’t driven by the profit motive. Now, just a couple of years after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented, 12 out of 23 co-ops have failed, costing taxpayers $1.2 billion in defaulted loan repayments. The failure rate even outstrips the Labor Department’s 2011 projections of 36 percent, and as The Carpenters used to sing, “We’ve Only Just Begun.”

The impact on 100,000 New York state users of the failed Health Republic Insurance of New York co-op means they will have to find new health insurance. The New York Post writes, “Add 250 New York cancer patients to the long list of victims of ObamaCare’s lies — just one more snapshot of the program’s ongoing death spiral.”

The reason cancer patients are now scrambling for healthcare? The collapsed co-op was the only insurance provider that covered treatment at the world-renowned Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and now with the co-op gone, cancer patients need to find new insurance, new doctors, new treatment centers all at the most vulnerable time in their lives. The naive idea that the co-op could offer premium coverage at non-premium pricing and survive has left patients stranded and taxpayers stuck with the price tag.

But failing co-ops are only a small part of the problem for the ObamaCare house of cards. The largest health insurer in the country, UnitedHealthcare, just announced that they are unlikely to participate in the ObamaCare health exchanges in 2017 and are limiting their marketing for customers through exchanges in 2016.

The Wall Street Journal quotes UnitedHealth Group Chief Executive Stephen J. Hemsley as saying, “We can’t sustain these losses,” further explaining, “We can’t subsidize a market that doesn’t appear at this point to be sustaining itself.”

It has long been rumored that health insurance providers were teetering on financial disaster due to the combination of fewer enrollees than planned, increased coverage requirements and profit restrictions imposed under the law. UnitedHealthcare’s admission during a briefing with stock analysts that continuing to operate under the strictures of the ACA doesn’t make financial sense is the equivalent of driving a dozen nails into the coffin of much-hated law.

But wait, there’s more. That ol’ promise that healthcare costs would go down by $2,500 for an average family took another hit of reality as a Wall Street Journal analysis of 2016 rates showed that premiums for individual health plans are going up, with double-digit increases more typical than not.

And healthcare services are being limited due as part of the ObamaCare fallout. In Kentucky, 40 percent of hospitals have had to cut services because the Democratic governor expanded Medicaid eligibility and the costs have soared. The political results are dire for the Democratic Party as a Republican won the governorship in the commonwealth in overwhelming fashion, at least partially due to the shattered trust in government that the healthcare failure has engendered. Newly elected Matt Bevin is only the second Republican governor elected in the state in the past 44 years: Not exactly a political omen that should warm the cockles of Democratic hearts.

Besides skyrocketing healthcare costs, less healthcare service available, anticipated health insurance company abandonment of the system, patients being thrown off coverage and losing their doctors, and the failure of the co-op system, ObamaCare is doing just fine. It is the politicians who still support it who will be on life support come November 2016, when panic over the system intensifies.

The only thing surprising is that anyone still supports this ill-advised, poorly conceived big government boondoggle.