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Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Obamacare Is Collapsing, But Democrats Don’t Mind
Power Line - Tuesday August 16, 2016
by John Hinderaker
Obamacare is falling apart before our eyes. In state after state, insurers are withdrawing from the ACA exchanges and premiums are rising rapidly. Barack Obama’s promise that the ACA would bring down the cost of health insurance has become a bad joke. The latest newsis that Aetna is leaving 11 of the 15 state exchanges in which it now participates:
Aetna’s decision to pull back from ObamaCare is fueling new questions about the long-term viability of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
I will go out on a limb: Obamacare has no long-term viability.
When United Healthcare announced in April that it was leaving most ObamaCare marketplaces in 2017, supporters of the law argued against drawing broad conclusions, calling it one company’s decision.
But since then two other large insurers, Humana and Aetna, have said they are slashing ObamaCare offerings due to heavy financial losses from the plans.
With the success of the healthcare law predicated on participation from private insurers, the growing exodus is stoking alarm among healthcare experts — and cries of “I told you so” from Republican critics who have long called the law unworkable.
It now seems indisputable that Republican critics of the ACA were right. So are Democrats despondent about the acts’s failure? It doesn’t seem so.
Sabrina Corlette, an expert on the health law at Georgetown University, said the law is not in danger of melting down because of the way it is structured. She cited the financial subsides that the law gives lower-income people to pay for coverage.
“Because of critical things like premium subsidies and the individual mandate, this is not a market that is going to crash and burn anytime soon,” she said.
But a thriving market for ObamaCare plans is not the same thing as a subsidized market for the poor and sick. Democrats had promised the former when pushing the healthcare law, not the latter.
If all we wanted to do was buy subsidized health insurance for a relatively small number of people not already covered by Medicaid, it could have been done at a fraction of the cost of Obamacare. Which is not to say that it would have been a good idea.
Experts say there are several changes to the law that would improve it substantially. Along with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, those experts have called for increasing the financial assistance under the law in order to entice more people to sign up.
Because any problem can be fixed if you spend more money on it.
Notably missing from the current discussion of Obamacare is any sign of disappointment, let alone panic, from the Democrats. The ACA was supposed to be Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Doesn’t he care that the program that bears his name is falling apart? Seemingly not.
Likewise with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the other Democrats who pushed Obamacare through Congress without a single Republican vote. Pretty much everything they said about the ACA has been proved wrong. Do they mind? They don’t appear to.
Democrats don’t expect to be punished for inflicting an expensive, failed program on the American people. Instead, they believe they will be rewarded. As Obamacare continues its slow-motion collapse, they will shift to Plan B. “We tried the market-based approach,” they will say, “and it didn’t work. Now there is only one alternative left: single payer health coverage.” At that point, with the government already dominating health care through Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare, and with genuinely free and private health care a dwindling remnant of the industry, they think the road to socialized medicine, the holy grail of modern leftism, will be open.
They may well be right. In any event, the Democrats’ confidence in that scenario explains why they don’t care that Obamacare has utterly failed to live up to the promises they made for it, and is widely unpopular with the American people.