The eulogies are being written. The arrangements for the burial are in full swing. All that’s left to determine is when death arrives. Loved ones are in full denial but most people will not miss the departed one.
I’m referring to ObamaCare, of course. The latest news from the “doctor” is more bad news. Aetna is pulling out of the ObamaCare exchanges in 2018.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board reported this news recently. Aetna announced its withdrawal from individual market plans in Nebraska and Delaware, the last of its participation in the ObamaCare exchanges. In 2018 Aetna will have zero plans to offer on the exchanges. The prior week Aetna left Iowa and Virginia, making it a clean sweep of its last remaining four state participation. Even though the company is doing well in its other business, Aetna expects losses of about $200 million from ObamaCare this year. The company previously reported losses of nearly $700 million between 2014 and 2016.
Aetna is far from alone. Humana also left the exchanges completely as did United Health Group. Anthem is teetering on the brink of withdrawal, too. Despite the generous subsidies from the government and mandates to purchase insurance, these companies are still losing millions.
The WSJ editorial board says the Aetna withdrawal is especially noteworthy since they led the ObamaCare cheering section in 2009 and 2010, even expressing their opinion that temporary losses were acceptable in support of the long-term mission of universal coverage.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the last of the big insurers to remain in the exchanges but not without substantial price increases. In Maryland, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield is requesting average premium increases for 2018 as high as 58.8% and admits “we think we are in the beginning of a spiral” when prices must increase so rapidly that the market collapses.
Democratic response has been predictable. Here’s how the WSJ editorial board described it:
“In a hilarious letter Tuesday, all 48 Senate Democrats instructed Republicans ‘to discourage the ongoing effort by the Administration to destabilize the healthcare marketplace, which could lead to rising insurance premiums for all.’ Could? ObamaCare is already doing a fine job of raising costs and reducing choices.”
“Liberals are hailing Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee’s decision to sell coverage in the 16 counties around Knoxville, a region that Humana, the only insurer this year, will leave in 2018. That averted a crisis, but the company advised regulators that it would require “a higher-than-average margin” to participate. Insurance isn’t worth much if nobody can afford it.”
ObamaCare has a fatal disease – it costs too much and provides too little. The only question is what will replace it and when? Democrats are putting all their eggs in the basket of single-payer healthcare – socialized medicine. Republicans want to preserve freedom to choose your doctor, your insurance, and your medical treatment. The voters will ultimately decide.