In a blow to the healthcare law, Aetna — one of the largest health insurers in the country — announced Monday that it will significantly scale back its presence on the ObamaCare marketplaces next year. The move comes as a range of insurers have complained of financial losses on the ObamaCare marketplaces. The company said it will scale back from participating in 15 states this year to just four states in 2017. “As a strong supporter of public exchanges as a means to meet the needs of the uninsured, we regret having to make this decision,” Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in a statement, citing a loss of $200 million in the second quarter. The Obama administration argued the move is not a sign that the ObamaCare marketplaces are in trouble. The move comes on the heels of pullbacks from other major insurers, including UnitedHealthcare and Humana. The insurers have raised concerns about the sustainability of the ObamaCare marketplaces. The mix of ObamaCare enrollees has been smaller and sicker than expected. Some experts say that insurers also set their premiums too low. Premiums are expected to rise more sharply in 2017, which could help insurers address some of the losses.
Yes, the sweeping exit of a third major national insurer "is not a sign that the Obamacare marketplaces are in trouble." That's almost as credible as...virtually every other assertion this crew has ever made about the 'Affordable' Care Act. Not to fear: The good news in all of this is that the massive financial losses that are driving insurers away may be cured by "sharp rises" in coverage rates, arriving in October and November. And that's in addition to high out-of-pocket costs that many Americans have already found crippling. Because that certainly won't drive away younger, healthier consumers who are already rejecting the law due to its lack of affordability. Sounds like an airtight plan to me. In an alternate political universe, this would be a big problem for Democrats ahead of the fall elections:
This Obamacare year is shaping up to be a big headache for Democrats. Insurers quitting. Huge rate hikes—hitting right before election day.— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) August 16, 2016
This is especially true of Hillary Clinton, who has stated that the law she proposed and pioneered "is working," failing miserably to acknowledge or wrestle with the myriad ways in which it's hurting real people. Aside from affordability, one of the other big lies of Obamacare was the notion that the new law would increase "choice and competition" for consumers. In fact, millions have experienced the opposite effect, struggling to access care under drastically reduced networks. We already knew that hundreds of counties nationwide are down to just one "choice" of provider within the Obamacare "marketplace," including the entirety of three states. With Aetna's decision, it now appears that consumers in one Arizona county may have zero options in their exchange. None.
And now, amid new announcements of double-digit premium hikes, the Weekly Standard's Andrew Ferguson amusingly fisks an Obama official's spin to the New York Times, which effectively amounts to "hey, you f----d up. You trusted us." And if the current trends continue, Leftists will soon ask Americans to trust them again on healthcare, this time to impose a failed, extremely expensive, government-run, VA-style system onto the entire country. I'll leave you with two thoughts: First, President Obama's "keep your plan and doctor" claim was perhaps the most epic lie of the entire Obamacare debate. Millions were thrown off of their existing plans (and were then triumphantly touted as "newly insured" by the White House, seeking to inflate the law's weak enrollment numbers), and now millions more are going to be displaced due to this extreme market volatility. But let's recall that Obama wasn't the only person offering soothing, dishonest assurances in pitching this healthcare program:
"Don't let [Republicans] fool us again...there will be no new bureaucracies. You can keep the doctors you know and trust. You keep the insurance you have if you like it."
Sound familiar? Again, Obamacare was Clinton's plan from the beginning. Obama attacked her for it until he swallowed it whole as his own. Luckily for Democrats, left-leaning "fact-checkers" like Politifact are still rating this lie -- which was Politifact's own lie of the year in 2013 -- as "half true." And finally, here's Blue Cross/Blue Shield's canary. When will that insurer's "coal mine" announcement arrive?