Two Blue Cross plans out of Obamacare, Obama wants taxpayer bailout for insurers

Investors Business Daily reports on the latest big health insurer to drop out of Obamacare.:

Two Blue Cross plans made the stunning announcement in the past week that they were dropping out of ObamaCare markets. If even the Blues — the backbone of the individual insurance market for decades — can’t make it, ObamaCare is truly on the road to ruin.

[…]Despite getting approval on an eye-popping rate hike of nearly 60% for 2017, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee announced that it was quitting three of the largest ObamaCare markets in the state, which will leave 100,000 enrollees to scramble for an alternative coverage next year.

The state’s Blue Cross had lost half a billion dollars in ObamaCare’s first three years, and the company’s spokesman said “there are too many uncertainties to continue participating on a statewide level as we have before.”

That decision came shortly after Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska’s announcement that it was pulling out of ObamaCare entirely in that state — stranding some 20,000 ObamaCare enrollees — after losing $140 million. “We can’t take another hit,” said CEO Steve Martin last Friday. The decision came after the company had won approval for a 42% premium increase.

These dropouts are on top of the June announcement that Minnesota’s Blue Cross was abandoning the states individual market entirely in the wake of $500 million in losses, which means more than 100,000 people in the state will be looking for a new insurer for next year.

That same month, Arizona’s Blue Cross announced that it was dropping out of two counties — Maricopa and Pinal. It later decided to get back into Pinal County after Aetna fled the state, which would have left Pinal with zero insurers in the ObamaCare exchange.

In North Carolina, Blue Cross was contemplating an exit until other insurers dropped out, leaving it the sole carrier in much of the state.

[…]Even before the latest pullbacks, 974 counties in the U.S. — which represent 31% of all counties — were down to one ObamaCare insurer after Aetna, UnitedHealth, Humana and others pulled out of various states, and after most of the ObamaCare-created insurance co-ops failed, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Another 31% of counties will be stuck with just two insurers.

Fewer choices means less competition means higher prices for consumers.

Bloomberg News explains:

Minnesota will let the health insurers in its Obamacare market raise rates by at least 50 percent next year, after the individual market there came to the brink of collapse, the state’s commerce commissioner said Friday.

The increases range from 50 percent to 67 percent, Commissioner Mike Rothman’s office said in a statement. Rothman, who regulates the state’s insurers, is an appointee under Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat. The rate hike follows increases for this year of 14 percent to 49 percent.

[…]On average, rates in the state will rise by about 60 percent, said Shane Delaney, a spokesman for MNSure, the state’s marketplace for Obamacare plans.

Wow, this is a lot different than what Obama promised in his campaign speeches, isn’t it?

A lot of young people believed Obama’s promises in 2008 and again in 2012:

And you can keep your doctor! And you can keep your health plan! Because Obama! Everything will be fine, don’t ask for evidence that he has ever achieved anything in his life. He’s handsome! He has a nice voice! He’s confident!

Should we pick a candidate based on our emotional response to his confidence?
Should we pick a candidate based on our emotional response to his confident words?

Yes, OK. But what about this problem of health insurance companies taking huge losses and pulling out of Obamacare? I don’t think that the program works as well, if all the health insurance providers stop selling health insurance.

Well, don’t worry! Because Obama has a plan to give all his insurance company friends a big bailout from his private stash of taxpayer dollars.

The Weekly Standard explains:

Obamacare’s “risk corridor” program was designed to redistribute money in the Obamacare exchanges from health insurers who made money to those who lost money. Profitable insurers would pay in; unprofitable insurers would get paid out. With so many insurers losing money under Obamacare, however, the program was positioned to become a bailout, as there was no guarantee in Obamacare’s text that the money paid out wouldn’t exceed the money paid in.

[…][I]n late 2014, congressional Republican leadership took action. Congress put an end to Obamacare’s insurer bailout, as it added language to the CRomnibus spending package stipulating that the risk corridors must be budget-neutral: No more could be paid out to insurers than was paid in by insurers. Taxpayers would no longer be on the hook for bailing out insurance companies. In December of 2014, Obama signed that legislation into law.

Congress had acted just in time. Whereas the Obama administration and the CBO both claimed the risk-corridor program would pay for itself, insurers paid $362 million into the program in 2014 and—if not for Congress’s having stopped the bailout—would have been paid out a cool $2.87 billion. For every $1 that was paid in, about $8 would have been paid out. Instead, insurers received only $362 million, and Congress saved taxpayers $2.5 billion.

Obama now seems determined to change that. He is reportedly planning another end-run around Congress—and the Constitution—by bailout out insurers with taxpayer money that Congress hasn’t appropriated. The Post reports, “Justice Department officials have privately told several health plans suing over the unpaid money that they are eager to negotiate a broad settlement, which could end up offering payments to about 175 health plans.” […]In other words, the administration is “eager” to settle with insurers and provide them the bailout that Congress, with Obama’s signature, expressly denied.

Oh, that’s fine then. Obama is going to give the big insurance companies the bailout they deserve. He is such a generous man!

Obama already doubled the national debt from $10 trillion to $20 trillion in 8 years. We have another $1 trillion in student loan debt, thanks to his nationalization of the student loan administration. And another housing bubble of unknown value on the horizon. When will voters understand that they need to vote for competent people?

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