He may not be a physician or corporate insurance executive, but Texas Gov. Greg Abbot is astute enough to understand a failing business model – and government policy – when he sees one.
Commenting on health insurance giant Aetna’s recent decision to pull out of most Obamacare-created health insurance exchange markets after losing more than $430 million since 2014, Abbott, in a tweet, noted the obvious:
Commentary: Aetna’s Obamacare pullout means the ‘insurance death spiral’ has arrived. Program is losing billions.
Indeed it has, and that was predicted. In fact, in 2014 we reported that Obamacare exchanges were already bleeding red ink, and that the entire concept behind the law – that young, healthy Americans would sign up in droves and thus offset the cost of caring for older, sicker Americans – was premised on a fallacy.
First and foremost, despite the fact that the law unconstitutionally requires Americans to purchase health insurance (regardless pf what the U.S. Supreme Court ruled), tens of millions of younger Americans are still not buying coverage, according to a May Modern Healthcare report. Part of the reason for that is because younger people tend to feel “invincible,” so health insurance is not viewed as an absolute necessity.
Designed to fail
But another major factor is the cost: Despite being lied to by President Obama repeatedly that his signature “healthcare reform law” would lower premiums by about $2,500 a year, costs have instead gone up, as insurers are also forced to a) provide ‘basic’ care plans; and b) have to rely on older, sicker patients for most premiums.
So, without massive economic participation by younger Americans, the “death spiral” of the law has begun in earnest, as we see more and more insurers pulling out of the markets because they are losing big, big money. Aetna is not alone.
Another major health insurer, UnitedHealth, initially jumped into the Obamacare exchange markets like Aetna and others because, after all, if you have a president and Congress mandating that every American be forced to buy your product, why wouldn’t you? But as we have seen, things did not work out as the insurers expected, and UnitedHealth, more so than Aetna, has found out the hard way.
The company began bleeding money early on. After evaluating early claims by sicker than expected (and thus costlier to cover) enrollees in the exchanges, the company backed off its initial rosy fiscal projections. Like other health insurers, UnitedHealth was forced to raise premiums and cut some plan designs, Modern Healthcare reported – even while still trying to put on a happy face.
“We continue to expect exchanges to develop and mature over time into a strong, viable growth market for us,” Dave Wichmann, UnitedHealth’s second-in-command, said last October.
The end game is to get rid of ALL private sector health coverage and make it government-run
But the optimism was short-lived. Just a month later, the company totally trashed all expectation of the future of the exchanges after confirming it had lost $1 billion on its Obamacare plans, then threatened to pull out of the exchanges altogether. In April of this year, UnitedHealth began sending out notices that it will leave most of the marketplaces and remain only in a “handful” for the coming year.
But while the failure of the plans – and Obamacare in general – was predicted by some, was it also inevitable – as in, was it designed to fail for some greater purpose, such as to give big government socialists the grounds to propose a total takeover of healthcare, like British- and Canadian-style systems that under-serve populations and are chronically underfunded?
Yes. And that comes straight from the man who twisted Senate rules to get the law passed in the first place: Then-senate majority leader, Harry Reid, D-Nev.
In 2013, in a moment of unusual candor, Reid admitted to a newspaper reporter that the end-game for U.S. healthcare is a socialist single-payer system, a sort of Medicare-for-all scheme that will be insanely expansive, with care meted out and limited by government bureaucrats, not doctors and other primary care providers.
“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said. When he was asked if the goal was to get rid of private-sector insurance coverage altogether, Reid said, “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”