Fewer and fewer health insurance organizations are participating in the apparently misnamed Affordable Care Act for one simple reason: it is unaffordable for more and more health insurance companies. Loss ratios, the difference between premiums earned and claims paid, are spiraling upward beyond the point where a profit can be earned to assure the continued existence of insurers and providers. At the same time, the feds seem to feel there is no problem that needs be resolved so reimbursements remain too low in many instances. This is either benign neglect or intentional neglect.
It seems the federal government believes that health insurers are made of gold, and therefore that they can absorb these annual financial bloodbaths without the feds reimbursing as they originally promised would be done. Could it be there is some other plan afoot, some other motive?
Could it be that the federal government, directed by President Obama unless Congress flexes its muscle, intentionally assured that our country’s health insurance companies lose enough money so as to be forced to leave that business? Could this be the unexpressed goal of the Obama Administration? Could this be the precursor to “national health care” like Medicare and Medicaid? Democrats will not openly admit this is a failure, and Republicans are probably too timid in this election year to make comments to this effect.
Are we all on our way to a “Veteran’s Administration” form of health care with months-long waits for an appointment with poorly paid providers? Is that what ObamaCare was really about from the beginning? We were told, by its creator, that we were too dumb to understand this wonderful new program; in retrospect, that was very probably the intention all along.
There are serious issues with the Affordable Care Act and the number of insurers staying in that program has significantly diminished, yet the Democratic candidate for President has made no mention of this issue. Surprisingly, the Republican candidate for President has not made this one of his regular talking points either, but he may not have a clue about what this could portend.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, the word ‘spiral’ is fleshed out by making that a phrase: the death spiral. This describes the point at which a company simply cannot collect enough premiums to offset the loss trend. That would be, in this context, the point at which Congress has to weigh in, if that point hasn’t already passed, to rectify the problems.
This is one of the signature accomplishments of the Obama Administration, hence the President’s not being upset over us using his name for the program, if not the most significant achievement from the Administrations’ perspective. It is threatening to disintegrate, to simply collapse on itself without significant additional funding. This was, whether or not intended (and I am of the growing belief this was intended and that is why it was set up to fail or to be made to fail by slowing/reducing reimbursements to insurers), the beginning of national health care. There are some who would continue to decry this claim, but they are growing fewer in number as each month passes and as reality overtakes the hype that we saw when this was unveiled.
If ObamaCare was not intended to fail from day one, why is it that the funding necessary to support realized claims and still provide a modest profit for the insurers has been deficient and continues to be deficient? There is only one reason for this and that is to make sure the health insurers are unable to continue to exist in this world, therefore necessitating a national health program to save us. It may well be that the ‘blame’ for this having to happen will be laid at the doorstep of the health insurers which we know are already hated by a significant percentage of the population.
Am I in ‘la-la land’ with this hypothesis? I don’t think so. Remember, there are now only 7 remaining organizations of all those (more than 40) that were formed to handle ObamaCare patients. The rest, the vast majority, have already closed their doors and/or found other business to do.
The writing on the wall is simply a bit too ugly and too vivid to make believe it doesn’t exist as Congress and the presidential candidates seem to be doing. I wouldn’t expect Hillary Clinton to bring this up, but I am amazed that Donald Trump has yet to make this a point, at least in any meaningful way.