Saturday, August 27, 2016


"Welcome to the marketplace:"

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Uhh... what marketplace?

"Choose your state and we'll tell you your next steps". OK, North Carolina e.g. In 2016, about one third of its counties were still covered by three insurers, in one third by two, and in the last third by only one.

In 2017, there will be just one insurer left for the whole of the state! So much for competition and lower premiums. Not many steps to take there.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. From the New York Times, no less:

"So much for choice. In many parts of the country, Obamacare customers will be down to one insurer when they go to sign up for coverage next year on the public exchanges.

A central tenet of the federal health law was to offer a range of affordable health plans through competition among private insurers. But a wave of insurer failures and the recent decision by several of the largest companies, including Aetna, to exit markets are leaving large portions of the country with functional monopolies for next year.

According to an analysis done for The Upshot by the McKinsey Center for U.S. Health System Reform, 17 percent of Americans eligible for an Affordable Care Act plan may have only one insurer to choose next year. The analysis shows that there are five entire states currently set to have one insurer, although our map also includes two more states because the plans for more carriers are not final. By comparison, only 2 percent of eligible customers last year had only one choice.

A similar analysis by Avalere Health, another consulting firm, also highlighted the increase in areas with only one insurance carrier.

The market is still in some flux. Final contracts between insurers and the federal government won’t be signed until late September. That means it is still possible that additional insurers will choose to enter new markets between now and then, and the competitive picture could improve. It is also possible that some carriers will decide to exit. It was just this week that Aetna surprised regulators and others with the news that it was leaving most of the markets where it offered policies on the exchange, leaving it in just four states.

The Obama administration says it is too early to evaluate competition in the Obamacare markets for 2017. Marjorie Connolly, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said: “A number of steps remain before the full picture of marketplace competition and prices are known. Regardless, we remain confident that the majority of marketplace consumers will have multiple choices and will be able to select a plan for less than $75 per month when Open Enrollment begins Nov. 1.”

Many places in the country still have robust choice and competition, including many large population centers like Denver, Los Angeles, New York and Miami. But large areas have limited choice, like the five states that now have only one issuer: Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming. (Our map also shows Kansas and North Carolina with only one, but the picture may change for parts of those states, because additional insurers have said they plan to enter.)

Large sections of other states may also be down to one carrier, including Florida, Utah and Missouri. It also appears that there is one county in Arizona, Pinal County, between Phoenix and Tucson, where no carriers are set to offer health plans in the marketplace.

While the dwindling competition may not be fatal, “it isn’t ideal,” conceded Larry Levitt, a senior executive at the Kaiser Family Foundation. People shopping for plans in the exchanges will be left with fewer insurer choices but also, probably, fewer choices of doctors and hospitals because the companies that remain will most likely offer sharply narrow networks..."

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Do you remember Nasty Pelousy saying that "we have to pass Obamacare so that we can see what's in it"?

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Well... now you know!

The NYT article continues:

"Evidence from the first years of the marketplace suggests that consumers benefit from more plan choices. According to a study from researchers at the Urban Institute, more competitive markets tended to have lower premiums."

Wow. You got to be kidding me. Competition lowers prices??? Who knew???

"The exodus has left some states in flux, with regulators and remaining insurers trying to stabilize the market. In North Carolina, the exit of the UnitedHealth Group and Aetna has left BlueCross Blue Shield of North Carolina to serve the exchange.

The plan says it lost $405 million in 2014 and 2015 on the exchanges, and its chief executive, Brad Wilson, is concerned about the market. The insurer has sought sharply higher premiums for next year. “Consistently losing money on these plans ultimately puts all of our customers and our business at risk,” he said.

Insurers say the current rush to the exits underscores their contention that changes need to be made to the law. The decline in participation “echoes our calls for Congress and the administration to move forward with solutions that will improve the stability of the market and provide the affordable coverage options that consumers need,” said Clare Krusing, a spokeswoman for the America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group."

I'm not saying that the US's Health Care system did not need some serious adjustments previously. But it's no use replacing a moderately satisfying model with one that's worse. Again, we see here ample proof that when people in power positions of a leftist persuasion touch anything... it goes to bust.


Sure, next November vote Hillary!!! She's perfectly suited for the job!!! Barry said so!!!


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