Obamacare proponents claim the legislation gave health coverage to 20 million people who were previously uninsured.
The number is arguably closer to 14 million, with 11.8 million of those simply being covered by Medicaid expansion, which is collapsing, and often times does not result in better health outcomes.
Nevertheless, ACA champions are quick to trumpet the “gains” while ignoring the problems. Now that the problems are becoming too numerous to ignore, Democrats need a scapegoat: Donald Trump.
In their thirst to blame all the troubles of the world on Donald Trump, some Democrats refuse to take responsibility for the Obamacare death spiral.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Health insurers across the country are making plans to dramatically raise Obamacare premiums or exit marketplaces amid growing exasperation with the Trump administration’s erratic management, inconsistent guidance and seeming lack of understanding of basic healthcare issues.
The growing frustration with the Trump administration’s management — reflected in letters to state regulators and in interviews with more than two dozen senior industry and government officials nationwide — undercuts a key White House claim that Obamacare insurance marketplaces are collapsing on their own.
Instead, according to many officials, it is the Trump administration that is driving much of the current instability by refusing to commit to steps to keep markets running, such as funding aid for low-income consumers or enforcing penalties for people who go without insurance.
This is a fantastical claim (some might even call it “fake news”) when considering all the available data on the issue.
Obamacare hasn’t needed Donald Trump to fail.
A major insurance company has decided to entirely withdraw from all of Obamacare‘s health insurance exchanges in 2018.
According to the Washington Examiner, the experience with Obamacare has been a financial disaster for Aetna, one of the nation’s largest insurance companies. The insurance giant sustained almost $700 million in losses between 2014 and 2016, and an estimated $200 million in projected losses for 2017.
Aetna joins a long line of insurers and health plans that have decided that the individual markets designed in exquisite regulatory detail by the Obama administration and its allies in Congress are no longer working.
As designed, they can’t work. This is a feature, not a bug of Obamacare, and why Congress needs to repeal and replace this dysfunctional law.
Aetna’s withdrawal follows a pattern. Insurers have been losing money and dropping out of the individual markets. In 2013, before Obamacare’s insurance provisions were enforced, there were 395 insurers selling plans in the individual markets throughout the United States. By 2017, there were just 218 insurers selling plans in the Obamacare exchanges, a drop of 45 percent.
Part of the reason for the declining number of insurers is that Obamacare’s exchanges are disproportionately enrolling older and sicker people, and discouraging the enrollment of younger and healthier people.
That was not supposed to happen. The Obama administration initially expected people aged 18 to 34 to account for approximately 40 percent of exchange enrollment. Instead, the higher claims costs of a larger-than-anticipated number of older people have been jacking up the insurance premiums, further discouraging younger people from signing up for coverage.
This year, exchange enrollees experienced another round of rate shocks. Nationwide premiums for standard plans have increased by an average of 25 percent, and people in those markets have experienced shocking deductibles ($6,092 for single and $12,383 for low-cost “bronze” coverage). Not surprisingly, there are thus far 500,000 fewer exchange enrollees this year than there were last year.
Obamacare’s health insurance regulations are making the cost increases worse. Based on a 2015 examination of the Affordable Care Act’s regulations, rooted in a review of actuarial studies in the professional literature, Heritage Foundation analysts estimated that the age-rating rule increased insurance premiums by about 33 percent for young people, and the mandated benefits by about 9 percent.
Even Obamacare’s individual mandate penalties haven’t been enough to stimulate Americans to buy coverage. The Obamacare penalties are a lot cheaper than the Obamacare insurance costs. Based on 2015 data, for example, 6.5 million people paid the mandate penalty and 12.7 million got exemptions.
The Senate needs to join the House and get to work on health care reform. The sooner, the better.
As a result, people have far fewer insurance companies to choose from. The lack of competition exacerbates the cost.
“One-third of the counties — think of it, one-third — only have one insurer left,” Trump said…
Trump has the right statistic about insurance provider participation. In 32 percent of counties, individuals looking to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act online marketplace have just one choice for their insurance provider, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, last updated in November 2016.
In several states, including Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming, there’s only one insurance provider total participating in each state’s online marketplace in 2017.
That’s a significant change from 2016, when just 7 percent of counties — and one state, Wyoming — were limited to one insurance provider on the online exchanges.
The mess of Obamacare was one of the chief reasons Republicans were able to retake both chambers of congress and several governorships.
The sky-high premiums and deductibles, inability to keep your doctor, and the added burden on the middle-class and small businesses has highlighted the problems of Obamacare.
So it’s bizarre to attempt to shovel the blame at Trump’s feet.