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Free Minds & Free Markets

Obamacare Is Falling Apart

Insurers are bolting from the exchanges.

President Obama has been hammered for his failure on ISIS in the wake of the Paris attacks. But there's at least ObamacareFixItbitzcelt / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-NDone bright spot for him in that criticism: At least it deflected the spotlight from the unfolding catastrophe that is Obamacare.

Indeed, last month brought arguably the worst news for the program since the healthcare.gov debacle: UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest insurer, announced that it might quit Obamacare's exchanges next year. Should UnitedHealthcare act on this threat, there may not be enough (red) tape in the desk drawer of even future President Hillary Clinton to put the Obamacare Humpty Dumpty back together again.

United announced during an investor briefing Thursday that it was expecting a whopping $425 million hit on its earnings this year, primarily due to mounting losses on its Obamacare exchange business. "We cannot sustain these losses," United CEO Stephen Hensley declared. "We can't really subsidize a marketplace that doesn't appear at the moment to be sustaining itself."

Avik Roy, who serves as GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio's health care advisor, suspects United may just be the first domino to fall. Other commercial insurers, such as Aetna, Anthem, and Cigna, have raised premiums by double digits and still say they can't make the numbers work in their favor. Hence, they have withdrawn from counties where their losses were particularly acute.

For-profit companies that have shareholders breathing down their necks don't have much latitude to absorb losses. But even companies that don't face similar profit-maximizing pressures can't escape the basic dilemma confronting the industry. For example, state filings of the non-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield show that the company barely broke even in the first half of 2015. In Texas last year, BCBS collected $2.1 billion in premiums and paid out $2.5 billion in claims. If Obamacare's condition worsens, such companies will have to scale back their participation too.

And Obamacare's condition will worsen. Why? Because not only are far fewer patients enrolling in the exchanges than projected, but those signing up are too old or sick for anything resembling a balanced risk pool.

Even the administration has admitted that Obamacare enrollment has essentially flatlined, with only 1.3 million new members expected to buy coverage next year, compared to the 8 million projected when the law was passed. This means that overall enrollment by 2016 will be somewhere between 9.4 million and 11.4 million. That's half—half—of the 21 million initially predicted. So much for universal coverage!

The reason for this pathetic take-up rate is that the lavish benefits—in-vitro fertilization for 50-year-old women*, for example—that Obamacare mandated for qualifying plans have backfired. This mandate was intended to make sure that the young and healthy would purchase full—not bare-bones, catastrophic—coverage so that they would offset the cost of sicker patients. Instead, it has forced companies to jack up rates so much that only those eligible for full subsidies (the relatively poor) or the sick find it worth their while to buy coverage. The relatively young and healthy are opting to pay the penalty and "go naked." This, in turn, is forcing insurers to raise prices even more, which is causing more healthy people to drop out, unleashing the dreaded adverse selection spiral.

Obamacare tried to prevent this downward spiral by, ironically, insuring the insurers against losses until 2017 through something called the risk corridor provision. Basically, the plan was to shake down companies making higher than expected profits and handing their proceeds to companies with higher than expected losses. Setting aside the perversity of forcing successful companies to subsidize failing competitors, the program hasn't worked because the entire industry is confronting losses and Congress has barred the administration from dipping into general funds—aka taxpayer pockets—to bail it out. (United withdrew partially because it sees no relief in sight from the government. "We see no indication of anything actually improving," CEO Henley said.)

The best medicine for the exchanges? It might involve letting the insurance industry offer pared back, cheap coverage at prices that reflect the risk profile of patients. This would bring back the young invincibles, but jack up prices for sicker patients. That problem could be solved by targeting subsidies on these patients on a strict means-tested basis rather than showering them on everyone up to 400 percent of the poverty level. The crucial upside to this approach is that it would allow the insurance marketplace to function again. However, market pricing based on health is against the religion of liberals. Clinton won't go there. She could twist the screws on opt-outs by raising their penalty to something close to the price of the coverage they are refusing. But that would require Congress to override the statutory limits on these penalties in Obamacare. And so long as the House remains in Republican hands, that ain't going to happen.

Hillary's only other option will be to impose price controls on the health care industry. She's recently taken to demonizing drug companies but, notes Roy, they account for only 12 percent of health care costs. The real "savings" that could lower the price of coverage would be from going after doctor and hospital reimbursement, but that would be the political equivalent of stepping on a land mine.

Obamacare is falling apart limb by limb, and there is really no keeping it together. It could well become President Obama's Iraq: A costly and conceited intervention that destroyed an imperfect but functioning system just because it didn't fit his utopian designs.

This column originally appeared in The Week.

Update: * Although Obamacare — aka ACA — does not have a universal mandate to cover in-vitro fertilization, states with this mandate are expected to offer this benefit in their benchmark ACA plans.

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  • Cytotoxic||

    "Iraq: A costly and conceited intervention that destroyed an imperfect but functioning system just because it didn't fit his utopian designs."

    Holy fuck what a disturbing end to a great article. Yeah, 'imperfect' is such a great way to sum up Saddam's Iraq. 'Functional' too.

  • ace_m82||

    To be fair, I'd be willing to bet that the US government intervention in the health care market has killed and maimed more people that Saddam ever did.

    (Former Marine, Haditha 2007-2008)

  • Bellbiv||

    What US intervention into healthcare are you talking about??? The ACA is publicly traded US companies providing ALL services and the largest portion of the ACA, blocked by many of the f-cknut GOP State governors or houses, is Medicaid expansion, a government run healthcare program in existence for over 50 years.

    I do agree that after Desert Storm that Saddam "killed and maimed" less than 8,000 people between 1992 - 2003 according to the State Department, which is why ALL the charges brought against Saddam post the 2003 invasion happened prior to 1992. Matter of fact ALL of the significant charges of his actions against his people happened under Reagan, yet we used 9/11 to advance the agenda of the PNAC group to create a fabricated story to invade Iraq.

    Just check out the PNAC letter to Clinton from 1998 calling for the invasion and removal of Saddam to stabilize the Middle East!!! Check the men and women that signed that letter against W's closest staff and notice the near one to one relationship (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz etc.)

    Seems a bit crazy to compare the two, extending healthcare to all while trying to reign in double digit cost growth that has existed for years versus a $4T war that created an unending cesspool of continued military industrial complex revenue.

  • Cloudbuster||

    That's gotta be in the running for the most egregiously dishonest comment of the week.

  • J Cuttance||

    Yeah but some taxpayer-funded propaganda department thinks the comment scores points for:

    1. being close to the top;
    2. creating a diversion from the sensitive issues;
    3. its egregious dishonesty.

    P.S. I had to look egregious up so thanks for the vocab lesson.

  • some guy||

    No matter how you look at it, both Obamacare and the Iraq War have been costly, pointless interventions with no visible way out.

  • Cytotoxic||

    1) That's beside the point.

    2) Nation-building in Iraq was pointless and hella costly but the initial invasion was not.

  • MarioLanza||

    Obama/Biden/Hillary were singing praises of the Iraq nation building. You can't build nations by running away. Where has it been successful? Germany and South Korea...both have U.S. military presence. Where has it failed? Both in Vietnam and Iraq, the democrats pulled out to be the "peacemakers".

  • keith2366||

    Nation building in Germany after the war was quite different than nation building in Iraq. There were not different tribal factions and different religious sects fighting each other in Germany as there was in Iraq. Our military presence in Germany is not what made Germany a success and our military presence officially ended in 1955.
    I was under the impression that we pulled out of Vietnam when Nixon was in charge.

  • Juice||

    And WTF was the point of invading if not to attempt nation building? What were they going to do, topple Saddam and then what?

  • Johnimo||

    "A costly and conceited intervention that destroyed an imperfect but functioning system just because it didn't fit his utopian designs."

    The author referring to the pre-Obamacare healthcare system, not Saddam's Iraq.

  • Jake Stone||

    This article makes the same sorry assumption I have been forced to make myself: Hillary Clinton will, in fact, be the next president. And while I'm hands off politically like the good little Libertarian I am, that still makes me very very sad.

  • GregMax||

    She's delusional. Hillary Clinton will NOT be the next president.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    Who's gonna stop it. The media is running interference for most of the lies and DNC is trying to rig the primaries. The best the GOP has is Trump? This thing is done. The vagina is unstoppable.

  • sasob||

    Don't sell Cruz short - even if you don't like or approve of him.

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    I agree.

    The media will frame Sanders such that while miles better than any of the Team Red candidates, he's just not the Serious Person Team Blue needs.

    And Team Red is bound to put up a candidate so loathsome to anyone but Team Red fellators that he won't have enough national appeal to win.

    The saying holds true: Team Blue = The Evil Party, and Team Blue = The Stupid Party. Team Red could have this election wrapped in a pretty box with a pretty bow, but the party has sufficiently demonized candidates like Paul for being insufficiently pro-bombing the entire ME that candidates like Trump actually have a platform in the race.

  • Eman||

    the election just barely under a year away still. what things look like now doesn't really mean anything

  • Jalestra||

    The DNC doesn't have to rig the primaries. GOP makes sure to give the crazies enough attention that even I stand back and go "oh hell no...".

  • Delius||

    What makes me even sadder is that Hillary Clinton is probably the best option currently on the table.

  • Juice||

    I'd take Sanders over Hillary. Sanders wouldn't be able to pass any legislation. At least none that he really wanted. Hillary will be able to appeal to the worst of both R and D worlds and pass the worst legislation possible.

  • JagerIV||

    Yeah, this is some of my logic why I think I would vote Trump if forced to chose between him and Hillary. Hillary is as insider as you can get and loves to circumvent rules, and large parts of the Media and establishment will give her a pass on it.

    Trump, no one is going to let him get away with anything.

  • toolkien||

    After two terms of Bush II and nearly two terms of Obama, I HUNGER for the days of Bill Clinton.

    And I hated Bill Clinton.

    But at least Clinton carried himself with the air of a high school senior student body president. We've had a decade and a half of seventh grade caliber intellects.

    Of course we might be getting a Clinton back - a vampire woman of evilness that probably will have me waxing nostalgic for the puerility of Obama.

    Not a good trend line.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Bubba had the good fortune to have the worst of his evil plans (like Hillarycare) thwarted by Gingrich's buddies in the congress. Gridlock made him look good.

    -jcr

  • some guy||

    Absolutely. Bill was itching to screw something up. The GOP just stymied him for partisan reasons. Lucky us, I guess...

  • DenverJ||

    I don't believe Bill is as leftwing as Hillary. Of course, that's assuming either of them have any true opinion on anything, other than just being weathervanes.

  • Win Bear||

    I think Bill was just itching to screw something.

  • Ron||

    Bill Clinton was lucky he didn't have to do anything but ride the rising tide provided by the GOP. Hillary on the other hand is an activist who will implement more private wars and will attack the 2A and will go for single payer she will be more active than Obama. it will ot be a good thing. unfortunately the GOP has nothing to offer either but more war mongering. its a lose lose.

  • ||

    This entire debacle is proof positive Obama's Ego is all that matters. The very people he claimed to care about most are the ones suffering most from his actions.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    But his intentions were so good! And that's what matters to progressives.

  • Intraveneous Woodchipper||

    Yup, this just means the govt will have to try, try again!

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    Some might argue that this was the entire point of Obamacare. That it was designed to fail so that another Progressive Hero could come and do what the Lightbringer couldn't (naturally because of Team Red interference despite Obamacare not having a single Team Red vote and having a Blue/Blue:House/Senate) and bring us what we really need: Single Payer.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    Even if that wasn't the original intent, that's the trajectory. I work with a lot of Feds in an organization with a lot of Progressives. Among the true believers--the ones who really do have good intentions--they kind of start off looking for problems to solve, and when they find them, the immediate question they ask is, "How many experts in the Federal Government will it take to solve this problem?" Always. Never mind that government might have created or exacerbated the issue, or that it might not actually be a problem, or that it might not be solvable. Because they believe in the ultimate supremacy of technocrats in a top-down, centralized state they have a massive blind spot as to any flaws or drawbacks to government intervention. So I have no doubt that, having looked at the problem of health care costs in the US and making it worse by getting the government involved, they'll decide that what's needed is more of the same.

  • ima_jellydonut||

    If they could get single payer through, they would have already done that. Obamacare is in shape it is precisely because American political and legal system hugely reduces chances of stuff like single payer from being forced through.

    I fully agree that's the trajectory of the program, but what's next is not very likely to be a successful implementation of single payer, it's more like another colossal cluster**** that is desired to be single payer a la French model, but it's not going to work out this way.

    As we say here in post-commie countries about our socialist dogooders, "they meant well, but it worked out as usual". :-)

  • some guy||

    But that would require Congress to override the statutory limits on these penalties in Obamacare.

    You sure about that? What's to stop the next administration from jacking up the penaltax unilaterally? When someone sues, SCOTUS will just override the plain text of the law because the intent of the law was to force people to buy healthcare. If the penaltax in the plain text is too low to achieve that objective then it must have been a typo.

    Never underestimate the ability of SCOTUS to defer.

  • Intraveneous Woodchipper||

    If my defer you mean manipulate...

  • Mr. Flanders||

    This will be used as justification of a single-payer model. People will say "market failure" is to blame while completely ignorant of the fact that we haven't allowed the healthcare market to function as an actual market since over 100 years ago.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    A feature of Obamacare, not a bug.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    I used to think that, but, what are the chances Obama would put his name on something designed to fail? I just don't see Captain Ego seeking an unprecedented legacy going there.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    Because he's an ideologue, maybe.

    And the Democrats tried hard to discourage "Obamacare" in favor of "Affordable Care Act." It was the Republicans who successfully tied Obama's name to the law in popular culture.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    I have a hard time applying the term ideologue to him. He is far too conscious of his legacy, and has been since he wrote that damn book. He's in it for the fame and the history more than the ideological battle.

  • Intraveneous Woodchipper||

    Yeah I can't remember a politician (much less POTUS) who seemed like a more sincerely arrogant asshole

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    Up until the moment SCOTUS (I.e. Roberts) gave it the Judicial Seal of Approval. Then Obama and Team Blue embraced the name.

    I'd bet that they'll try and shake it off now that the system is failing so quickly. Not even 2 full years after the law went in to full effect and 12 of the 23 co-ops set up specifically to be providers in the various marketplaces have gone under, and various other insurers are either sinking or on the verge of pulling out of offering ACA plans.

    This law is a huge pile of stinking shit.

  • DenverJ||

    So, I'm familiar with health insurance being offered to get around wage freezes during WWII. Can you point me in the right direction to at least wiki government interference in the healthcare market pre WWII?

  • Ted S.||

    Single-payer legal care.

    Because there's not one lawyer in the country who does anything worth more than minimum wage.

  • JagerIV||

    Reading through one of the linked articles, it appears as though Congress can't raise the penalty without throwing the constitutionality back into question.

    "But Roberts’s decision limits Congress’s latitude by holding that the small size of the penalty is part of the reason it is, for constitutional purposes, a tax. It is not a “financial punishment” because it is not so steep that it effectively prohibits the choice of paying it. And, Roberts noted, “by statute, it can never be more.”As Lambert says, the penalty for refusing to purchase insurance counts as a tax only if it remains so small as to be largely ineffective.

    Unable to increase penalties substantially, Congress, in the context of “guaranteed issue” and “community rating,” has only one way to induce healthy people to purchase insurance. This is by the hugely expensive process of increasing premium subsidies enough to make negligible the difference between the cost of insurance to purchasers and the penalty for not purchasing. Republicans will ferociously resist exacerbating the nation’s financial crisis in order to rescue the ACA.

    Because the penalties are constitutionally limited by the reasoning whereby Roberts declared them taxes, he may have saved the ACA’s constitutionality by sacrificing its feasibility. So as the president begins his second term, the signature achievement of his first term looks remarkably rickety."

  • some guy||

    Good catch. I was assuming Roberts would allow increasing the penalties for the same reason he allowed subsidies to go to people on the federal exchange. Now he really has no way to continue saving ACA unless he's willing to ignore himself.

    The only question left is how will the GOP respond to the collapse of the exchanges. Will they continue to push for repeal? If so, what will they propose as a replacement? If the replacement is anything but a law that repeals a bunch of pre-ACA regulations then we won't be any better off than we are now.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That is not true we will totally be better off than we are now. There are tons of people who are getting whacked with massive premium increases that wouldn't be otherwise.

  • Butler||

    We would definitely be better off with pre-obamacare regulations, but I don't see a full repeal of obamacare happening. Our best bet is for a substantial revision of Obamacare to make it function more like the Singapore model -- catastrophic plans (what we call high deductible plans) provided at low or no cost, and tax free savings accounts for everyday healthcare expenses. If we got rid of the tax-gap with employer-sponsored plans and eliminated some of the barriers to entry, we'd have something that at least resembles free-market healthcare.

  • DarrenM||

    Yes. I think this is more suitable. If we're to have some kind of universal health care, it seems to me this is the best route from a 'libertarian' standpoint. Of course, Democrats can (will) still take the credit for forcing Republicans to implement this.

  • Zunalter||

    If I may share an anecdote, my premiums are going up by ~95% this year and my coverage is actually worsening. So, I agree.

  • JagerIV||

    I do wonder how the circle is squared between all the multitude of people I've heard talk about this and the claims of lowered costs.

  • Lord at War||

    That is not true we will totally be better off than we are now

    Who the fuck is "we" you Canadian chickenshit?

  • Bgoptmst||

    Ha ha, I didn't see your post before I made mine. Just Cyto being Cyto ... Nothing to see here!

    He's warming up for a call for an expansion of the American war effort everywhere, and feels "we" will sound better than "neighbors to the north."

  • Bgoptmst||

    When did you stop being Canadian?

  • JagerIV||

    Yeah, I think going against the plain text of his own reasoned opinion that might be a step to far, even for Robert's pretzel making skills. And Robert is still somewhat youngish for a supreme court justice, and is unlikely to die quick enough to save the bill on this particular issue.

  • bluecanarybythelightswitch||

    'Unless he's willing to ignore himself.'
    It's been known to happen...

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    The more I ponder it, it occurs to me that, rather than strict deference fir deference's sake, Roberts may have allowed it to stand legally knowing full well (like any non-unicorn theory of economics thinking person) the law would fail all on its own. To allow ALL of the legitimate blame for the law's failure to fall on Team Blue.

  • Intraveneous Woodchipper||

    Lol the Republicans should increase the penaltax themselves so that the ACA becomes unconstitutuional

  • jenni47||

    I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. For further details, Check this link............. www.earni8.com

  • Rockabilly||

    How can this be?
    This is a government run program!

  • Win Bear||

    Well, it clearly is superior to corporate health care since it's not making any profit!

  • DenverJ||

    I'll bet Shikha is adorable when she says "... and that ain't going happen."

  • Jackand Ace||

    Yawn.

    The latest doom and gloom prediction about Obamacare on Reason. We've seen this act before, Shikha. Peter ran with it incessantly. The system wouldn't work, the uninsured will stay away, the young will never buy insurance, it's gonna get repealed. On and on.

    You should listen to Baileys barbs about doom and gloomers.

    So now it's because UHC MAY leave the exchanges? May? Come on. Here, listen to some logic from business as to why the young will sign up. It's a new, large change to the nations health care system. Some hills were expected.

    http://www.businessinsider.com.....re-2015-11

  • Sevo||

    So, you slimy pile of crap, you're hoping extortion will do the trick?

    "Based on his analysis, for about 7 million uninsured people, the cost of paying the penalty will be greater than getting a plan through the exchanges. This should drive more people into the program, thus alleviating some of the tension."

    Good. Why not just get a gun and shoot 'em if they don't?

  • Cytotoxic||

    The system wouldn't work, the uninsured will stay away, the young will never buy insurance, it's gonna get repealed. On and on.

    And so far almost completely correct.

    As for that pathetitic 'analysis' if that's the case then the SC's own ACA decision would render it void. The hypothetical future 'success' of Ocare rests entirely on the ability of the government to hound people into it.

    "Some hills were expected."

    Not by those who shoved this POS down America's throat.

  • See Double You||

    At this moment I'm sitting in my insurance law class and listening to the general counsel to our state's insurance commissioner, and she said ACA supporters did not expect so many states to resist setting up their own exchanges. Meanwhile, other states that did set up exchanges, like Oregon, have shut them down and let the feds take over. Sounds like more than a "hill."

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and:

    "Some hills were expected."

    Doesn't that make you dizzy? I mean, not ONE portion of the mess has worked as planned and half of it has yet to be implemented.
    You can peddle that stuff to other lefties as stupid as you, but don't bother with it here.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    The "implemented" half is the pleasant part. The painful parts are still coming.

  • Mindyourbusiness||

    Better yet, Sevo, he can use it to enrich his vegetable garden.

  • JPyrate||

    It's good to know that our local wealthy, dilettante troll is not effected by rising health care costs.

  • JPyrate||

    "Yawn" Let them eat cake. Right Jackass.

  • JPyrate||

    Also I started to make more money once I stopped reading that rag.

  • ima_jellydonut||

    1.3M people enrolling vs 8M needed is not "some hills", it's more like an abyss.

    Clearly, Obama is like Khrushchev: a man who tries to take an abyss in 2 leaps.

  • ima_jellydonut||

    cd. So the article is correct: the only semi-viable option for HC and Democrats in general is to go full Soviet monty: regulate the prices. With all the typical Soviet results: shortages, queues, bad quality, bribes even. All made even worse by America being worse at socialism than say France or Germany. It would be poor healthcare for proles and quality private healthcare for the rich. Everyone knew that in Soviet or nationalized systems.

    Then of course Democrats would set course on making it all egalitarian and high-quality while efficient. Now, taking on simple numbers of people in the system is hard, let alone enforcing high quality in a centralized system without boosting the costs to unsustainable levels. With finances so hard as it is, ensuring high quality would be impossible, even exploiting monopsony position of the government (one buyer, many sellers) to dictate prices lower than they would be in competitive marketplace, is very hard.

    Democrats would - will? - end up with a system that is all Soviet: expensive while low quality, poorly ran and full of shortages and waiting lists.

    In such context, let us now talk about re-election of Democrats.

    I think that like the scorpion in the Aesop's fable, the Democrats can't help themselves from trying to impose single payer system. Then the democracy would likely work the right way: voters would kick the suicidal party out of jobs and Congress.

    Perhaps there's a silver lining for libertarians in this cloud.

  • ima_jellydonut||

    Hills you say? How about this:

    Increasing the penalties is not an option, as it would cause political losses so drastic to Democrats that it would be like Hitler's stubbornness in forcing Wehrmacht at Stalingrad to follow "not a single step back": virtual annihilation. Can you *really* imagine a young person who does not want to enroll in Obamacare being pretty much forced by stiff penalty into the program still voting for Democrats? Democrats would have simply succeeded in turning millions of their sympathetic or at least potential voters into sworn enemies of the party. Nobody likes to be forced at gunpoint into a choice they don't like. Not even potential or moderate Democrats. So it's all pain, no gain: hardcore Democratic base stays the same, but potential voters would be all alienated and vicious.

    Subsidizing the plans is not an option either: the tax expenses necessary would be massive. Republican opposition is the smallest of the problems: there's no way of doing this without imposing yet another stiff burden on the American economy, which again in conditions of recovery that can be called weak at best, would tank the economy and resulting problems and chronic unemployment would destroy Democratic voter base again. Not an option again.

  • ima_jellydonut||

    cd. So the article is correct: the only semi-viable option for HC and Democrats in general is to go full Soviet monty: regulate the prices. With all the typical Soviet results: shortages, queues, bad quality, bribes even. All made even worse by America being worse at socialism than say France or Germany. It would be poor healthcare for proles and quality private healthcare for the rich. Everyone knew that in Soviet or nationalized systems.

    Then of course Democrats would set course on making it all egalitarian and high-quality while efficient. Now, taking on simple numbers of people in the system is hard, let alone enforcing high quality in a centralized system without boosting the costs to unsustainable levels. With finances so hard as it is, ensuring high quality would be impossible, even exploiting monopsony position of the government (one buyer, many sellers) to dictate prices lower than they would be in competitive marketplace, is very hard.

    Democrats would - will? - end up with a system that is all Soviet: expensive while low quality, poorly ran and full of shortages and waiting lists.

    In such context, let us now talk about re-election of Democrats.

    I think that like the scorpion in the Aesop's fable, the Democrats can't help themselves from trying to impose single payer system. Then the democracy would likely work the right way: voters would kick the suicidal party out of jobs and Congress.

    Perhaps there's a silver lining for libertarians in this cloud.

  • DarrenM||

    Democrats mandate people had to buy insurance. Why didn't they just mandate insurance companies provide insurance? In fact, they could have gone further to head off any problems caused by financial losses by mandating insurance companies also make a profit.

  • bluecanarybythelightswitch||

    Obviously they should just mandate that people not get sick.

  • dchang0||

    HA HAAA!

    The insurers are losing money--and they deserve to. Those crony corporatists thought they could set up no-lose situations for themselves so that if Obamacare did well, they'd profit big, and if Obamacare did badly, they'd get bailouts. It was apparent from their subsequent stock market performance that investors expected to do well from mandatory health insurance too.

    But reality is kicking these cronyists firmly in the ass. Good. GREAT. Let them lose money for having gotten behind the government's use of force to get so many of us to buy a product we don't want.

  • Sevo||

    Agreed, and I'm sorry the MDs aren't taking it in the shorts too, since most seemed right happy with the thought of government-guaranteed patient payments in perpetuity.

  • JPyrate||

    "HA HAAA!

    The insurers are losing money--and they deserve to"

    Yes they do. =)

    They can have all of the small change in the cash drawer. They are also welcome to the big cash in the one ton drop safe if they can move it, and break it open with high explosives. =)

  • JPyrate||

    As far as criminal's go. Obama and his thieving Democrat cronies are less effective than shoplifters, and liquor store stick up artists.

  • MSimon||

    There is grumbling in the financial community that ACA is strangling the economy. Along with the danger of NINJA auto loans. A reinflation of the housing bubble. And a few other things.

    The dividend from lower oil prices is barely keeping things afloat.

  • JPyrate||

    ^^ This.

  • JagerIV||

    Any sources or deeper commentary on any of these?

    They sound vaguely realistic as things the financial community might be worried over, but some collaborating evidence would be nice, if for no other reason than so that when an acquaintance of mine claims the opposite I can point to something.

    And if any of these things cause the next ressesion (which we should be do for soon) it would also be nice to nip any "no one predicted/was concerned over this thing that caused the ressession" talk in the bud.

  • bvandyke||

    I went to google, here is one recent article:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/.....-deadbeats

    But from my quick look through it has been going on for the last several years.

  • MSimon||

    Obviously Google is not your friend. My condolences.

  • XM||

    "I hereby mandate you to purchase insurance, but if you don't make enough money (go straight to medicaid) or pay a penaltax, you don't have to!"

    I don't really see the difference between Co-op and conventional ACA insurance. They were both designed to produce losses and unsustainable in the long term.

    The left is packed with economic illiterates who has way too much power for their own good. These people can beat us the same way the crusaders initially beat the Muslims - by throwing massive numbers on us during election day. Yeah, I'm looking at you, hideously misinformed minority voters.

    The upcoming minimum wage increase will hit the Obama base especially hard. My undocumented friends who work at ethnic markets and businesses are being warned about future cuts and layoffs. Live and learn.

  • Glide||

    It may be falling apart, but you've got to understand...MULTIPLE PEOPLE signed up for our mandated program! That makes it a clear success! And if you disagree, you hate poor people.

    /Democrat impression

  • Careless||

    Wait, where was the part where we need open borders?

  • taker||

    I'm not sure what that has to do with Obamacare's finances, but I consider opening the borders to be a reduction in government meddling. It would even the water levels of supply and demand for labor across borders. Not saying we shouldn't check and vet people, but no more Hx visas - such as H1-Bs where government assists in undercutting the price of labor by importing wage slaves from India. Let them come on their own nickel and find a job here at the highest price they can find. The same is true across the job spectrum. Government proclaims it's for our "protection" but really it's about cronyism.

  • Ron||

    Obama care failures are just a bonus for those like Hillary who want single payer.

  • taker||

    After taking the government handout worth about 15 grand over the last 2 years, as a healthy 64 year old I have now retired out of the country. My latest bill for an episode of otitis media (not getting any younger here either) was $1.60 which breaks down to $.50 for the doctor and $1.10 for the medication. (public health service) It was easy and straightforward and I would likely to go a private clinic for anything I didn't understand, but it was good experience. The US could replicate that. The public care is low cost and limited, but you can spend your own money any way you want in a free, open and completely transparent market. Not everybody can drive a Mercedes, but anybody can take the bus.

  • Bellbiv||

    Too funny, the story opens by name associating the President for the ISIS attacks in PARIS! So we know immediately the direction this is going when she implies blame for the terror attack in France on our President.

    As for the ACA, Untied Healthcare covers less than 5% of the participants in the ACA because individual coverage is not their forte. They are firmly in the group healthcare business, the ACA was their first foray into individual coverage. As someone who has United, they pretty much s-ck in the group healthcare realm.

    I do appreciate that she uses extensive linking to Avik Roy columns a GOP opportunist that has consistently tried to protect Medical Corporations and the Status Quo of Medical costs tripling virtually every decade since the 60's.

    Fortunately, we have Pharmaceutical companies spending billions of dollars a year pushing erectile dysfunction pills, so we should celebrate the positives versus acknowledging the roadblocks laid out by nearly 30 Republican lead states to hamper the ACA as well as the 43 attempts by the GOP Caucus in Congress to repeal the ACA.

    BTW, all other industrialized countries around the world thank the United States for their focus on for profit healthcare, enabling their countries to pay significantly less for drugs and care while most enjoy a higher lie expectancy and quality of life!

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    Knee-jerk Progtard, I hope you have to use Obamacare soon, often and for the rest of it's unnatural legislative lifetime.

  • MikeAT||

    With respect, I must disagree. Obamacare is working perfectly.

    You must ask, what is Obamacare? Is it a way to expand medical coverage, or lower cost of medical coverage, or reform the heath insurance industry? Absolutely not. It is the bridge to single payer.

    You simply mandate a program were the purchasers of "insurance" are going to the people who will overuse the system, you will have more money comping out then coming in. You cannot charge according to a set standard (e.g. older and infirm pay more than younger and healthier, like in life insurance) You have the young and healthy refusing to come in, so you don't have the group that would should the burden and spread the risk. And you have policies that are often no usable, that the co-pays are too much to use the policy.

    So companies are having to jack up rates by double digits which will lead to the "death spiral" of more young and healthier leaving while more old and sick stay in. And then one company after another will get out of the business until you don't have private health insurance in the US and the only thing left is Medicaid for all.

    Anyone with any understanding of Obamacare, aka "ACA", could see this. And it's working perfectly.

  • Sevo||

    "Absolutely not. It is the bridge to single payer."

    You presume entirely too much intelligence on the left.

  • Jason Vick||

    President Obama
    should declared his failure on ISIS in the wake of the Paris attacks

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