Just about anyone with even a smidgeon of intelligence when it comes to the economy knows Obamacare has been an absolute disaster of biblical proportions, both for the individual and small businesses.People have seen their premiums skyrocket to numbers so obscene they deserve an NC-17 rating, while small businesses have had to raise prices, drop employees, or at the least, cut hours and production time.
With an economy that’s been depressed for a decade, this sort of phenomenon isn’t good at all.Well, the chief executive of insurance company Aetna has some news we’re all going to love hearing, though it might make Obama cry himself to sleep.
According to the Washington Post, Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini said Wednesday that the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges — the marketplaces where consumers can buy individual health coverage under President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law — are in a “death spiral.”
Bertolini’s remarks at the Wall Street Journal’s the Future of Healthcare event came a day after the official end of his company’s proposed merger with the health insurer Humana — a divorce that will cost Aetna a $1 billion breakup fee. It also came a day after Humana announced that it would pull out of all of its remaining ACA exchanges for 2018, arguing that the risk pool was unbalanced because not enough healthy people were signing up for insurance compared with the number of sick people.“That logic shows just how much the risk pool is deteriorating in the ACA and how poorly structured the funding mechanism and premium model is,” Bertolini said. “I think you will see a lot more withdrawals this year of plans.”
Bertolini said his company has not decided whether to continue selling insurance in the exchanges in 2018, but it already has exited most of the markets where it previously sold plans, remaining in only four states this year. He pointed out that Aetna is the only insurer left in Nebraska’s public exchange.
“There isn’t any risk sharing going on in Nebraska. It will cost us a lot of money,” Bertolini said.Bertolini, however, drew a portrait of the health insurance landscape caught in a deteriorating cycle. With too many sick people and not enough healthy ones buying insurance, he argued, the premiums have to keep going up. The more the premiums increase, the fewer healthy people want to sign up for care. They opt to pay the penalty instead of buying insurance with a massive deductible. That causes the balance of sick and healthy people buying insurance to worsen, prompting more rate increases and causing people — and insurers — to drop out.
Back during his campaign, President Trump promised one of the big things he was going to take care of soon after taking office was a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare.
While that hasn’t happened just yet — give the man time, he’s only been in office a month and health care is complicated — it seems almost a shoe-in that the Affordable Care Act will soon go the way of the dinosaur and not a moment too soon.[Note: This article was written by Michael Cantrell]