Aetna’s decision to abandon its ObamaCare expansion plans and rethink its participation altogether came as a surprise to many. It shouldn’t have. Everything that’s happened now was predicted by the law’s critics years ago.
Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said that this was supposed to be a break-even year for its ObamaCare business. Instead, the company has already lost $200 million, which it expect that to hit $320 million before the year it out. He said the company was abandoning plans to expand into five other states and is reviewing whether to stay in the 15 states where Aetna (AET) current sells ObamaCare plans.
Aetna’s announcement follows UnitedHealth Group’s (UNH) decision to leave most ObamaCare markets, Humana’s (HUM) decision to drop out of some, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s announcement that it was quitting the individual market in Minnesota, Continue reading
By M. Anthony Mills • RealClearPolitics
In 2016, the joker in the deck may come the first week of November — and it won’t be a surprise, just a shock: Fueled by the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, Americans’ health insurance premiums are likely to spike.
The policy debates that preoccupy Beltway insiders are often far removed from the concerns of most American voters. The Export-Import Bank, the intricacies of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory requirements, quantitative easing, and rules promulgated in obscure administrative agencies — this is not the stuff of middle-class anxiety. While such policy and regulatory decisions do affect citizens nationwide, it’s not always immediately obvious how. Not so jobs, wages, schools, and health care — these issues hit home. Continue reading
“I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last.” That was President Obama in a speech before Congress back in Sept. 2009, pitching the health reform plan he’d sign six months later.
It doesn’t look like he’s going to get his wish.
In the three-plus years since the ObamaCare exchanges opened, the law is teetering on the edge of the abyss. Enrollment is well below expectations, not enough young people are signing up, insurers are failing or dropping out of the program, and, by all appearances, premiums are set to spike even higher than last year.
Now a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released late last week shows that the public is far from satisfied with what Obama claimed was the be-all and end-all of reform. Continue reading
If Hillary Clinton wants to defend Obamacare, fine. But she should explain to voters why the health care law is not working.
By John Daniel Davidson • The Federalist
Obamacare isn’t working. You wouldn’t know it from the scant media coverage, but six years after its passage, federal health-care reform has proven to be exactly what its critics said it would be: a trillion-dollar Rube Goldberg machine that doesn’t really work.
The law, although more unpopular now than it was when it passed, has quietly faded into the background of the presidential primary contests. That’s too bad, because Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has hitched her health-care wagon to this slow-motion disaster, and voters deserve to know why she thinks it’s so great—or at least why she thinks it just needs some tweaks, like larger exchange subsidies and tax credits for out-of-pocket costs. Continue reading
by Philip Klein • Washington Examiner
On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that fewer than 13 million individuals signed up for Obamacare plans for 2016. Though the administration is trying to argue that this 12.7 million number beat expectations, nobody is buying it.
HHS officials set an artificially low target of 10 million signups for the year – essentially flat from 2015 – so they would have something to beat.
“While exchange enrollment will meet the Administration’s modest 10 million person goal, it does appear that growth in this market has slowed,” Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president of healthcare advisory firm Avalere said in a statement. Continue reading
By Edward Morrissey • The Fiscal Times
First, they argued that the United States had too many uninsured people, with estimates ranging from 30 million to 45 million.
Second, the rise in costs for health care outstripped inflation, and the market required an intervention that would bend the cost curve downward.
Third, Democrats claimed that insurance companies made too much profit and shorted most consumers on care, while those with generous health plans – so-called “Cadillac plans” – drove up utilization rates and costs for everyone else. Continue reading
by Betsy McCaughey • New York Post
How dare the Obama administration bail out insurance companies with our money in order to hide ObamaCare’s failures. Thursday, just hours after giant insurer UnitedHealthcare said it’s losing money selling ObamaCare plans and will likely exit the health exchanges next year, the Obama administration quietly promised to bail out insurers for their losses — using your money.
Nearly all insurers are bleeding red ink trying to sell the unworkable plans. Without a bailout, more insurers will abandon ObamaCare, pushing it closer to its demise. A bailout would benefit insurers and the Democratic Party, which is desperate to cover up the health law’s failure. Ironically Democrats (including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders) bad-mouth bank bailouts but are all for insurance-company bailouts. Truth is, it’s a ripoff for taxpayers, who shouldn’t have to pay for this sleazy coverup. Continue reading
by Rick Manning • The Hill
Everyone 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.” Continue reading
by Mark Tapscott • Daily Caller
It’s an Obamacare story with every imaginable outrage — blatant conflicts of interest, millions of tax dollars going to political cronies, thousands of Americans left without health insurance, lavish pay for incompetent executives, federal funds diverted illegally, multiple congressional investigations, insider trading convictions and big decisions made behind closed doors.
Tragically, there is even a child abuser. But search the New York Times web site for “Obamacare co-ops” and nothing comes up. Just three entries appear for the same search on the Washington Post web site. Continue reading
80,000 or so Coloradans will need to find a new insurer for 2016.
by Associated Press • KRDO.com
Colorado HealthOP announced Friday that the state Division of Insurance has de-certified it as an eligible insurance company. That’s because the cooperative relied on federal support, and federal authorities announced last month they wouldn’t be able to pay most of what they owed in a program designed to help health insurance co-ops get established. Continue reading
By Betsy McCaughey • New York Post
Bad news for New Yorkers, thanks to ObamaCare: More than 100,000 policyholders just learned that their Health Republic insurance plans will be canceled on Dec. 31. The start-up insurer (spun off from the Freelancers’ Union) is hemorrhaging red ink and has to close down.
That’s unfortunate for the policyholders, who now have to scramble to find other coverage and try to keep their doctors.
But even worse is the abuse of taxpayers across the country: Congress loaned a whopping $2.5 billion of taxpayers’ money to Health Republic of New York and 22 other boondoggle insurance co-ops, even after being warned by its own budget experts that many co-ops would fail and not repay the loans. How carelessly politicians spend other people’s money. Continue reading
By Tom Howell Jr. • The Washington Times
Obamacare has offered insurance to millions of people, but they’re unhappy with the coverage they’re getting and are particularly upset about the costs, according to a survey released Monday that suggests the health care law continues to struggle to win over Americans.
Just 30 percent of customers on Obamacare’s exchanges were satisfied with their coverage, the health care research arm of the Deloitte consulting firm said.
Only a quarter of Obamacare customers in the survey were confident that they could get care when they needed it, and just 16 percent felt “financially prepared” to handle future health care costs, Deloitte said.
“Those are not high numbers,” said Paul Lambdin, a director for Deloitte’s work on insurance exchanges and retail practices.
Analysts said it is hard to tell at this point whether dissatisfaction is the inevitable byproduct of a new customer base or whether the law itself has structural problems. Continue reading
by Eric Boehm • Watchdog.org
The IRS fined more than 7.5 million Americans who didn’t have health insurance in 2014, even as Obamacare subsidies flowed to people who didn’t even exist.
The Treasury Department reported last week the number of Americans who faced fines because of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was significantly higher than the Obama administration expected. For 2014, the IRS projected that roughly 6 million would face fines, but the final total was 1.5 million higher.
It was the first year in which buying health insurance was made mandatory under the ACA, with penalties of $95 or 1 percent of total income – whichever was higher – for people who did not comply. Continue reading
After this year’s spike, the average family plan will go up another 11.2% in 2016.
By Stephen T. Parente • The Wall Street Journal
Americans who purchase health insurance on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges should buckle up. Within the month, state regulators will begin approving premium hikes for plans sold in every state. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has already released the premium increases that health insurers have requested for their 2016 plans. By law, insurers must receive regulatory approval for any increase more than 10%—and more than 10% is what many of them want.
The numbers are staggering. According to the rate requests posted on Healthcare.gov, nearly every state has multiple plans that are facing a more than 10% premium increase. Many plans—including some offered by state-market leaders—could see hikes of more than 30%, 40% or even 50%. Though most of these requests have not been approved, nor have all of the rate hikes that are less than 10% been unveiled, it is undeniable that millions of Americans are facing double-digit premium increases for health insurance next year. Continue reading
By Stephanie Armour • Wall Street Journal
Emergency-room visits continued to climb in the second year of the Affordable Care Act, contradicting the law’s supporters who had predicted a decline in traffic as more people gained access to doctors and other health-care providers.
A survey of 2,098 emergency-room doctors conducted in March showed about three-quarters said visits had risen since January 2014. That was a significant uptick from a year earlier, when less than half of doctors surveyed reported an increase. The survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians is scheduled to be published Monday. Continue reading