UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest healthcare insurer, is making good on its threat to drop ObamaCare. More evidence that ObamaCare is a failed healthcare system.
UnitedHealth just announced plans to exit the ObamaCare exchanges in almost all 34 states they currently serve beginning in 2017. Chief Executive Stephen J. Hemsley said that the “smaller overall market size and shorter-term, higher-risk profile within this market segment continue to suggest we cannot broadly serve it on an effective and sustained basis.”
The company also raised its projected losses on the exchanges for 2016 from about $525 million to a new high of $650 million. UnitedHealth lost $475 million on the exchanges in 2015. They had approximately 795,000 exchange enrollees at the end of the first quarter of this year.
Overall, the company actually is doing well fueled by strong results from its Optum health-services arm and growing government business, according to a report by Anna Wilde Matthews in The Wall Street Journal. The company’s shares were up 2.1% to $130.50 after the announcement.
The Impact On Consumers
Consumers have already been hit with skyrocketing healthcare premiums and deductibles since the passage of ObamaCare in 2010. But the situation only looks to get worse in 2017.
With the exit of UnitedHealth from the exchanges, many states will be left with only two or even one insurer available. An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that in 532 counties, UnitedHealth’s departure will mean two insurers are left, and in 536 counties there will be only one insurer available. The Wall Street Journal editorial board says this will leave only 48% of all counties served by three or more insurers while 24% will be served by only one.
This scarcity of competition will undoubtedly be exploited by the remaining insurers, allowing them to raise their already high prices. Even worse, the end of the bailout provisions of the law in 2017 will force insurers to pass along the true cost of ObamaCare insurance for the first time. Get ready for much higher out-of-pocket expenses when the 2017 rates are announced.
The White House Response
Despite this obvious evidence of the failure of ObamaCare, the White House continues to spin reality to suit their agenda. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responded to this alarming news by saying it expects insurers to come in and out of state marketplaces, but it has “full confidence, based on data, that the marketplaces will continue to thrive for years ahead.”
The real reality is that a new Democratic president, either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, will push for a single-payer healthcare system much like Canada – the liberal nirvana progressives have been seeking for nearly a hundred years. The reason is it will achieve complete government control of healthcare.
But the cost of such a system will not only be higher taxes and higher federal deficits. It will also be the rationing of healthcare – by delayed access to treatment – as currently exists in every country with a socialized medicine system.