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CBO: Repealing Obamacare would boost economic growth

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Aetna slashes Obamacare participation by two-thirds
Pete Kasperowicz
8/15/16

Healthcare insurer Aetna announced Monday that it would reduce its participation in Obamacare by more than two-thirds, after suffering a $200 million loss in the second quarter of this year, a loss caused by too many sick people signing up for President Obama's signature healthcare program.

 

"Providing affordable, high-quality health care options to consumers is not possible without a balanced risk pool," the company said in a statement. "Fifty-five percent of our individual on-exchange membership is new in 2016, and in the second quarter we saw individuals in need of high-cost care represent an even larger share of our on-exchange population."

 

"This population dynamic, coupled with the current inadequate risk adjustment mechanism, results in substantial upward pressure on premiums and creates significant sustainability concerns," it said.

 

Aetna said it now operates in 778 counties across the country, but that this would be slashed to just 242 counties in 2017. After leaving the other markets, it will operate in just Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia.

 

(Snip)

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8/16/2016

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 6:45 am

USA Today:

Health insurer Aetna plans to cease its participation in the Obamacare health exchanges in all but four states.

The company’s decision, which it blamed on heavy losses tied to the insurance plans, follows similar moves by competitors such as UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer.

 

Aetna said that in 2017 it would cease offering health care insurance options through the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 68.9% of the counties where it offered plans in 2016. It will continue offering certain plans in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia. Affected enrollees will keep their plans through the end of 2016 but must find alternatives for next year.

 

Aetna sustained a second-quarter pre-tax loss of $200 million on its individual health care plans, though that figure includes results from insurance offered outside of the Obamacare exchanges.

 

Meanwhile, premiums are going up astronomically in places all over the country:

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http://patterico.com/2016/08/16/aetna-pulling-out-of-most-obamacare-plans-as-premiums-rise/

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Aetna will not offer Obamacare exchange plans in Texas in 2017 By Sabriya Rice Follow @sabriyarice srice@dallasnews.com

Business of Healthcare Reporter

Published:

 

16 August 2016 08:01 AM

Updated:

 

16 August 2016 03:18 PM

Next year Aetna will not sell plans in Texas on the individual health insurance exchange marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act.

 

Citing more than $430 million in losses since 2014 and enrollment that skews heavily toward individuals in need of high-cost care, the company announced Monday that it will reduce its presence on the individual public exchange in 2017, from 778 U.S. counties to 242. Scissors-32x32.png

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/health-care/20160816-aetna-will-not-offer-obamacare-exchange-plans-in-texas-in-2017.ece

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Obamacare Architect: Why, These Damned Insurers Are Politically Motivated

(Zeke Emmanuel-brother of Rahm - the REAL Obamacare Architect)

 

A follow-up on this week's major Obamacare tremor -- which has been covered as more of a blip than a bombshell in the media, partially because of the bizarro-world nature of our current political environment. Many conservatives warned during the roiling debate over the unpopular law that its structure would erect perverse incentives that would threaten the viability of its exchanges once the taxpayer gravy train stopped chugging. That's exactly what's happened, with the inevitable reckoning being hastened by Congressional Republicans' taxpayer-defending reforms. Providers have discovered that sicker and older people, who are more expensive to cover, are more likely to sign up for plans, whereas younger and healthier consumers are staying away from the marketplace due to its high costs. After all, if and when they get sick or injured, Obamacare requires insurers to take them on as clients at comparable rates to everyone else. This moral hazard dynamic has resulted in enormous financial losses, outlined in a landmark study from Blue Cross/Blue Shield. These companies have fiduciary responsibilities to their employees, customers and shareholders, so they been forced to beat a tentative -- then rapid -- retreat away from the failing law. CBS News correctly identifies Aetna's departure as a "big setback" to Obamacare:

 

In response to the news, Obamacare architect Zeke Emanuel appeared on CNBC and peddled the Democratic conspiracy theory that Aetna is retaliating against the Obama administration's decision to block a merger with HumanaScissors-32x32.png

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2016/08/17/obamacare-architect-these-damned-insurers-are-politically-motivated-n2206070

 

 

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The Return of the Obamacare Death Spiral
The health law falters as yet another major insurer pulls back from the exchanges.
Peter Suderman
Aug. 17, 2016

Earlier this week, Aetna, which covers about 900,000 people through the health exchanges created under Obamacare, announced that it would dramatically reduce its presence those exchanges. Instead of expanding into five new states this year, as the insurer had previously planned, the company said that it would drop out of 11 of the 15 states in which it currently sells under the law.

Aetna's decision follows similar moves from other insurers: UnitedHealth announced in April that it would cease selling plans on most exchanges. Shortly after, Humana pulled out of two states, Virginia and Alabama. More than a dozen of the nonprofit health insurance cooperatives set up under the law—health insurance carriers created using government-back loans in order to spur competition—have failed entirely. While some insurers are entering the exchanges, even more are leaving.

 

What this means is that in several states, and even more counties, there will be only one insurer available through Obamacare. In at least one county—Pinal County, Arizona—it is likely that there will be no insurer available on the exchange at all.

 

This slow exodus of insurers from the health law's marketplaces represents a serious threat to the continued stability and existence of its exchanges. Obamacare is perched on the edge of a death spiral.

 

(Snip)

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Scott and White health plan to drop Obamacare offerings in 2017

 

By Sabriya Rice Business of Healthcare Reporter

Published: 17 August 2016 01:10 PM

Updated: 17 August 2016 09:48 PM

 

Scott & White Health Plan, an insurance program run by the Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health system, said Wednesday that in 2017, it will exit the federal health care marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act.

 

The announcement follows Aetna's decision to stop selling plans on the marketplace announced Tuesday. Scott & White Health said the decision was made before they became aware of United Health Care and Aetna's decisions.Scissors-32x32.png

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/health-care/20160817-scott-and-white-health-plan-to-drop-obamacare-offerings-in-2017.ece

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Not So Affordable Care Act – New York Edition

BrentB67 / August 17, 2016 / 46 COMMENTS

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (Empire Fed) issued a Supplemental Survey Report conducted as part of their monthly manufacturing survey detailing how firms in the region are responding the Affordable Care Act.

Before reading further anyone care to wager the results of the survey? Scissors-32x32.png

https://ricochet.com/not-so-affordable-care-act-new-york-edition/

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Her Health Plan Was $257 a Month. Now Her Obamacare Plan Could Be $650 a Month.

 

Ask 68-year-old Gavin Braithwaite how he feels about the amount he and his wife, Louellen, are expecting to pay for health insurance next year, and he’ll tell you he’s horrified, but not exactly surprised.

 

Since 1992, Gavin said, he’s watched the cost of their coverage increase over the years.

 

In the past few years, the Braithwaites say they’ve seen the cost of their premiums go from $257 per month in 2014 to $285 for the first nine months of 2015—their policy changed the last three months of the year—to $494 per month in 2016.

 

 

So Gavin wasn’t surprised to learn that his wife’s insurer, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, asked for a rate increase of 32.5 percent for next year, which would bring the cost of her premiums to more than $650 per month.Scissors-32x32.png

 

http://dailysignal.com/2016/08/18/her-health-plan-was-257-a-month-now-her-obamacare-plan-could-be-650-a-month/

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Obamacare’s Collapse: The Weirdest Excuse Yet
CMS uncovers a devious plot to refer uninsured patients to… er… Obamacare.
David Catron
Aug. 22 2016

The speed at which Obamacare is now collapsing has exceeded the pace at which its advocates are able to produce plausible excuses. For evidence of this, one need look no further than the latest conspiracy theory concocted by Andrew Slavitt, the paragon of public service who runs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Slavitt, best known to the public for lying to Congress about his agency’s efforts to recover taxpayer-funded PPACA start-up grants misappropriated by state officials, has instructed his minions to issue a public information request concerning the “inappropriate steering” of patients to Obamacare exchanges.

 

The ostensible impetus for the request involves “reports” allegedly received by CMS to the effect that numerous doctors and hospitals, “for the purpose of obtaining higher payment rates,” are steering uninsured patients toward the exchanges and discouraging them from applying for Medicare or Medicaid. For anyone familiar with how Obamacare plans actually pay, this will fail the laugh test. But Slavitt apparently expects us to take it seriously. In a press release, he made the following claim: “We are concerned about reports that some organizations may be engaging in enrollment activities that put their profit margins ahead of their patients’ needs.”

 

The real purpose of the information request is, of course, to create another set of villains to blame for Obamacare’s rapidly accelerating collapse. This is why neither the CMS information request nor Slavitt’s news release provides any information concerning how many reports the agency has received or from what source they emanated. The request does, however, provide a gruesome list of calamities that may result from this fictitious plot: “We believe this practice not only could raise overall health system costs, but could… result in higher out-of-pocket costs for enrollees, and have a negative impact on the individual market single risk pool.”

 

It is no coincidence that the risibly titled “Affordable Care Act” already suffers from all of the problems listed, and that they have recently been the subject of considerable public scrutiny. Now that the Obama administration is in its waning months, the media have been less reticent about reporting the truth about “reform’s” catalogue of failures. Even the most biased outlets have reported on the exodus of insurers from Obamacare’s exchanges. The New York Times, for example, provides an honest report on a study showing that “17 percent of Americans eligible for an Affordable Care Act plan may have only one insurer to choose next year.”

 

(Snip)

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Texas A & M professor: ‘We may be beginning to see the death spiral…’
John Sexton
August 24, 2016

The Texas Tribune published a story today outlining the precarious situation of the Obamacare exchange in that state. Several insurers are pulling out and those staying in are asking for massive premium hikes. It has one professor from Texas A & M wondering if the long-discussed death spiral has finally arrived:


Insurance start-up Oscar announced on Tuesday it would partially withdraw from the Texas market, joining veteran health plans Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and Scott and White on the list of companies that recently announced they would abandon the marketplace created by President Obama’s signature health law. The companies said their costs of providing coverage to middle-income Texans have been unsustainable, fueling concerns about a lack of competition and consumer choice within the health insurance market next year.

The announcements come at a time of uncertainty for health insurance markets nationwide, with several major health insurers opting to abandon the exchanges in all but a handful of states. And Cigna, another health insurance company, last week told the Houston Chronicle it was “in discussions” with state regulators about exiting the Texas exchange.

“I think what we should be expecting is premiums that are substantially higher, and I think there’s a real risk that other insurers pull out,” said Michael Morrisey, a professor at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. “We may be beginning to see the death spiral of insurance plans in the exchanges.”


(Snip)

Obamacare is definitely not turning out as promised. As the NY Times reported last week, the law is less of an extension of employer-based insurance and “more like Medicaid, only with a high deductible.”

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Prepare yourself for a Major Surprising Shock.

Ready?

That was then



This is now

Burn After Reading: Obamacare Website Scrubs Any Reference On How To Keep Your Doctor
Matt Vespa
Aug 24, 2016

It was the biggest lie of the year: if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. It was one of the main selling points of the president’s health care overhaul, besides that the new law would cut costs. It hasn’t. To make things more intriguing, healthcare.gov has scrubbed references to the promise on their website, including whole sections on how you could keep your doctor under the Obamacare regime. Jeryl Bier of The Weekly Standard had more:

 

(Snip)

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There Is No Fix
Jeffrey H. Anderson
Sep 05, 2016

With Aetna’s announcement that it is pulling out of most government-run exchanges, Obamacare's death spiral has begun to accelerate. Few but the sickest or most heavily subsidized people want anything to do with the (inaptly named) Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's high-priced, high-deductible, narrow-network plans. Insurers are responding to sicker risk pools and bigger losses by raising rates, which makes the plans even less attractive to the young and healthy—which makes the risk pools sicker, which makes the rates rise further. And the spiral continues, like water circling the drain.

No less of an Obamacare cheerleader than the New York Times's Paul Krugman admits this is "genuine bad news" that shows "some real problems are cropping up." Supporter Charles Gaba calculates that the average requested premium hike in 2017 for Obamacare plans is 24 percent. McKinsey & Company, in an analysis done for the New York Times, found that about 1 in 50 Americans didn't have a choice of insurers under Obamacare last year and thereby faced a private monopoly; next year, McKinsey says, it will be 1 in 6. Pinal County, Arizona, is poised to have no Obama-care plan at all.

In its announcement that it is exiting exchanges in all but four states—following similar decisions by United-Health Group and Humana—Aetna emphasized that insurance can't be affordable without "a balanced risk pool," and made clear that too many people are gaming the system and buying "insurance" only when they need immediate care: "Fifty-five percent of our individual on-exchange membership is new in 2016," Aetna reports, and "in the second quarter [of 2016] we saw individuals in need of high-cost care represent an even larger share of our on-exchange population." In other words, the risk pool isn't just bad; it's getting worse.

 

(Snip)

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