One-fifth of our nation’s economy is sinking fast.
The anchor? Obamacare.
Due to the in-feasibility of President Obama’s healthcare program, we are in the midst of a mass exodus of big healthcare insurers, such as Humana and UnitedHealth. According to the New York Times, 5 states — Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming – are now left with just one healthcare provider on the program’s rolls. But this only speaks to part of the issue: large majorities of other states – among them Florida, Utah, and Missouri – are monopolized by single providers in a similar fashion.
The issue is that healthcare provides like Aetna, UnitedHealth, and Humana no longer see any financial feasibility in Obamacare. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has lost close to $500 million on the federal healthcare program in just 3 years. According to BCBS CCO Roy Vaughn, the current position is simply “unsustainable.” Similarly, Tennessee’s insurance commissioner Julie Mix McPeak, has characterized the healthcare exchange in Tennessee as “very near collapse.”
The truth of the matter is that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was simply not designed to work with the insurance companies. The basic assumption behind the ACA is that these insurance companies are inherently profit-driven. And they are — they will find alternate ways to make up for laws that eat into their profit margins. Their first course of action will be to cut premium packages and generally reduce the quality of care. If that doesn’t work, they will simply raise the cost of their care, all while receiving subsidies guaranteed through the ACA.
But the consequences of such actions have made matters far worse. Taxpayers now pay more for less – they have to settle with worse healthcare at a higher cost.
According to the New York Times study by the McKinsey Center for U.S. Health System Reform, 17 percent of Americans that are eligible for Obamacare will have only one insurer to choose from next year. This means that not only will Americans pay more for less effective healthcare, but there will also be increased wait times due to there being far less Obamacare-approved doctors and hospitals on the books.
Sycophants of Obamacare continue to believe that increased government intervention is the solution. They fail to see that over the past few years, throwing money at the problem hasn’t done us any good.
John Kitzhaber, former governor of Oregon and the failed architect of the CoverOregon exchange, uses large technocratic words to defend his plans to start Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO). CCOs are health management organizations that pick winners and losers for healthcare services. They mandate that state employees enroll and then open government run healthcare providers to the public. It is basically Obamacare 2.0.
How do you expect to fix the problem with the same problem that started it? Someone get Kitzhaber a history book, or at least any published healthcare news article from last year with his name on it.
John Kitzhaber would still be the Oregon governor had he not resigned because of a federal scandal, which involved blowing through hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in order to advance his family’s business interests. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the House Government Oversight Committee noted that “more than $305 million in federal taxpayer dollars were sent to Oregon state… the state exchange never came to fruition, and the money is gone.” CoverOregon was a massive failure, and the state is still attempting to recover from Kitzhaber’s losses. In short, Kitzhaber should be the last “healthcare expert” that anyone listens to on this matter.
Government intervention cannot possibly be the solution to a problem that was caused by government intervention. Thanks to Obamacare, consumers in the healthcare industry are getting cornered by fewer and fewer health care providers with each passing day. The Washington healthcare debate should be a matter of quality and medical development, not nationalization and medical complacency. It is true that our nation’s future is in health care, but that doesn’t mean that it can or should be in the government’s hands.
Beth Johnson is an author and freelance political journalist based out of Washington, DC.