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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Taxpayers Are At Risk As Obamacare Crumbles

Taxpayers Are At Risk
As Obamacare Crumbles
by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: The health insurance exchanges that are the beating heart of Obamacare are on the edge of collapse, with premiums rising sharply for ever narrower provider networks, non-profit health co-ops shuttering their doors, and even the biggest insurance companies heading for the exits amid mounting losses. Even the liberal Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill is warning of a possible “Obamacare meltdown” this fall.

Three states -- Alaska, Alabama, and Wyoming -- are already down to just a single insurance company, as are large parts of several other states, totaling at least 664 counties.

UnitedHealth is pulling out completely, Humana is pulling out of 88 percent of counties it was in, and last weak Aetna strongly suggested it will be exiting, too, unless it gets bribed to stay with a huge, annual infusion of direct corporate bailout payments from taxpayers.

Dealing with the wreckage will be at the top of the agenda for the new president and Congress next year, and their options will be limited – especially if, as appears likely, we will continue to have divided government. Most Democrats would prefer moving toward a totally government-run system while Republicans continue to favor repeal.

The most likely outcome, then, is the muddled middle, keeping gravely ill Obamacare on life support, with the major policy fight being over the extent to which taxpayers should be forced to provide billions in direct corporate bailout cash infusions.

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini was pretty blatant in a recent interview with Zachary Tracer of Bloomberg. Here’s the key part:

“Rather than transferring money among insurers, the law should be changed to subsidize insurers with government funds, Bertolini said. ‘It needs to be a non-zero sum pool in order to fix it,’ Bertolini said. Right now, insurers ‘that are less worse off pay for those that are worse worse off.’”

In other words: everybody is losing money, so taxpayers need to pick up the tab.

The Obama administration is already playing fast and loose with the law to shovel as many bailout bucks to insurers as they can – on top of Obamacare’s huge subsidies to lower income consumers and a penalty tax on people who don’t buy in. They shortchanged taxpayers by $3.5 billion that, contrary to law, they sent to insurance companies instead. And their legal posture in a $5 billion lawsuit to contravene a funding restriction expressly enacted by Congress to prevent a bailout via the so-called risk corridor program amount to a promise that they will somehow get them paid in the future.

Democrats will support legalizing these payments and authorizing even larger direct corporate bailouts on an ongoing basis as a way to keep insurance companies in the Obamacare exchanges and avoid admitting failure.

Republicans will be attacked as saboteurs for resisting bailout payments, but that misses the point. Direct corporate welfare to bribe companies to participate in a poorly designed program is throwing good money after bad, masking rather than fixing problems while the cost to taxpayers climbs into the stratosphere.

We won’t be able to get to a real solution until we acknowledge that Obamacare is too rigidly structured and regulated to offer products people actually want, and needs to be reformed or replaced with genuine, functioning markets that give us a much wider variety of plans with different benefit packages, provider networks, and payment structures.

Before that can happen, Obamacare supporters need to be held accountable for the law’s manifest failures – not permitted to paper them over with billions more of our tax dollars.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment. Follow him at (@kerpen) and on Facebook. He is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Phil Kerpen, American Commitment, Taxpayers, At Risk, Obamacare Crumbles To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 5:00 PM - Post Link


Anonymous Tim Capel said...

Just now??? It's been happening. Increased premiums, higher deductibles. United Health Care getting out and Aetna losing $300 mil. Somebody has to pay for his crap!

Anonymous Ed Croson said...

My work now offers a high deductible plan and a higher deductible plan. Woo-hoo!

Anonymous Suzi Mathews Anderson said...

Reasonable people knew this would happen..

Anonymous Catherine Anne Elgan Stevens said...

That's what the republicans predicted! But did anyone stop Obama? Nope!

Anonymous Ed Croson said...

Free is a very powerful word.

Anonymous Tim Capel said...

80/20 deduct went up 250% and total out of pocket 300%. $1000 to $2500 and$2000 to $6000.

Anonymous Ed Croson said...

Yep. Insurance companies are going broke (if that's true, I don't know) so they're basically dropping those unprofitable plans.

Anonymous Leta Chester Wiest said...

Omg, Tim, that's awful!!! Thanks Obama!

Blogger BILL said...

Most everyone knew it wouldn't work... ALL insurance people knew for sure it wouldn't... They have just about destroyed the health care system... I'm in the Medicare-Medicaid business... In my area (100,000), many doctors are leaving the system... Certain doctors, we have none.... I have people who pay half of what they get on SS on medical expense... really sad... Like one 88 year old lady said, "If I don't have pain, I don't eat... They want everyone to do MORE and get paid LESS... Doctors aren't use to that... One of the biggest problems is: THERE ARE TOO MANY RULES AND REGULATIONS.... HIPPA is an example... crazy man crazy... The government is TOTALY OUT OF CONTROL. Just a note... from one who is going to quit after 60 years in business... because of all the government crap.


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