(BigGovernment.news) Critics of Obamacare have long said that once the law was fully implemented, it wouldn’t take long before the private insurance market began to hemorrhage money at a pace they could not sustain.
That time has arrived.
As reported by The Hill, health insurance companies are ramping up warnings regarding the financial sustainability of the Obamacare marketplaces as they plead for permission to raise already-high premiums next year. So much for the law “lowering annual premiums by $2,500 a year,” as the president promised repeatedly when he was selling this turkey to the American people.
Insurers say that they’re losing money on the Obamacare plans at an increasingly rapid rate, with some insurers saying they will consider dropping out of them altogether – a move that will further erode the system by limiting available choices and boosting premiums even further.
“Something has to give,” Larry Levitt, an expert on the health law at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told The Hill. “Either insurers will drop out or insurers will raise premiums.”
Some analysts are still clinging to the belief that eventually more young, healthy people will sign up and balance out the older, sicker population currently draining the pool. But others – we’ll call them Obamacare realists – see the market collapsing at some point into a “death spiral.”
In the short run, however, the “fix” will have to consist of even higher premiums and larger deductibles, over and above the massive increases tens of millions of Americans are already paying because of the law.
Insurers have been pounding the drum about problems with ObamaCare pricing, but no one in the White House appears to be listening.
As The Hill noted further:
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association released a widely publicized report last month that said new enrollees under ObamaCare had 22 percent higher medical costs than people who received coverage from employers.
And a report from McKinsey & Company found that in the individual market, which includes the ObamaCare marketplaces, insurers lost money in 41 states in 2014, and were only profitable in 9 states.
“We continue to have serious concerns about the sustainability of the public exchanges,” Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, said in February.
The Aetna CEO noted concerns about the “risk pool,” which refers to the balance of healthy and sick enrollees in a plan. The makeup of the ObamaCare risk pools has been sicker and costlier than insurers hoped.
Republicans – none of whom voted for the Affordable Care Act when it passed with Democrat majorities in 2010 – have long warned that the exchanges established by the law were unsustainable. Conservative medical economists have made similar claims, stating that there would never be enough young, healthy members of Obamacare exchanges to offset costs for older, unhealthier members.
But “Hope and Change” Obama, who is now on his way out of office, has never been interested in hearing any of this, and it is a safe bet that he’s not listening to these latest warnings, either. He has repeatedly vowed to veto any legislation aimed even at reforming the law, much less repeal it.
At some point health insurance rates will simply become too expensive for a broad swath of the population. Then things will really get ugly because, as you know, Obamacare makes it illegal not to have health insurance, and the government’s Obamacare enforcer is one of the least-liked of all federal agencies, the IRS. Scores will have to choose between things like rent, food and clothing – or health insurance, which will still come with major deductibles so as to make it all but worthless unless you happen to get run over by a bus.
By then Obama will be long gone, of course, making tens of millions on the lecture circuit and in the private sector while taking pot shots at whoever happens to be in the Oval Office, especially if they try to undo his signature legislation “accomplishment.” And even as the system breaks down completely, there he and his supporters will be, blaming the insurance companies or various Republicans for a situation none of them had anything to do with.
At some point we have to hope that this president will grow a conscience before next January, but we’re not holding our breath, and neither should you.