Editor’s Note: Once again, KILL ALL THESE BIRDS WITH ONE STONE, Constitutional Government! If a thing is not specifically listed in the Constitution, get the federal government OUT OF IT. Yes that includes the U.N., education, drugs, and Health Care to name a FEW.
There have been many articles in the last year with some variation of the headline “GOP Surrenders on Obamacare.” The stories mostly concern a tendency among some Republican policy elites to adopt the Washington conventional wisdom that Obamacare cannot be repealed because it has already become deeply entrenched in American life.
Those Republicans might want to reconsider. A series of developments in recent days suggests the Affordable Care Act is in perilous condition and could become even more troubled in months to come.
UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest health care company, recently announced huge losses from the sale of Obamacare plans and threatened to pull out of the exchanges altogether. “We cannot sustain these losses,” CEO Stephen Hemsley said. “We can’t really subsidize a marketplace that doesn’t appear at the moment to be sustaining itself.”
The news came on top of weeks of reports of rising costs for consumers. “Insurers have raised premiums steeply for the most popular plans at the same time they have boosted out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance in many of their offerings,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Deductibles and copays, in particular, have shot up so far, so fast, that many Americans feel as if they are paying for a policy but never see any benefit because they have to pay for so much of the costs out of their own pockets.
“We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it,” one New Jersey man told The New York Times.
Even with the higher rates, there’s word insurance companies might have to raise rates even more next year — or get out of the Obamacare business altogether. “Every health plan I talk to tells me that they don’t expect their Obamacare business to be profitable even in 2016 after their big rate increases,” insurance analyst Bob Laszewski wrote Thursday. “That does not bode well for the rate increases we can expect to be announced in the middle of next year’s elections.”
The problem is pretty simple: Not enough Americans, and certainly not enough healthy Americans, are signing up for coverage through Obamacare. And they’re not doing it because it’s not a good deal for them.
A study published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in October found that about 24 million Americans are eligible for tax credits — subsidies — to buy insurance through Obamacare. This year, about 10 million of them selected plans, with about 8.6 million actually paying the money and enrolling.