Major Insurers Pulling Out Of ACA Exchanges

Guess who is to blame for this?

ACA_SymbolRemember all those horror stories before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law? Tens of millions of people could not afford health care, or were denied health care due to a pre-existing condition? I remember them, mainly because I was one of them before I got Medicare. Early onset Parkinson’s meant I was unable to get any coverage for the myriad of symptoms that come with PD. But that’s another story.

Back to the horrors. Right. So, tens of millions of people with no insurance, etc., etc. Then the ACA was enacted, sans, of course, the single payer option – it’s best feature, in my opinion. Immediately the insurance companies began to retort and complain that they will lose money having to insure people who are more prone to getting sick due to their economic status, and for having to insure all those people with pre-existing conditions. The fire was then fueled by partisan politics, mainly from the GOP, who lodged their usual “screw-the-sick-and-the-poor” complaints. Complaints from people who have top tier insurance policies that are paid for, by the way, by tax revenue. Complaints from people who likely have never gone without health insurance.

Now, CNN is reporting that Aetna, among other major insurance companies, are pulling out of most of the ACA states, citing that (you guessed it) it is too expensive to insure all those sick people. From the article:

“Aetna (AET) is pulling out of 11 of the 15 states where it offers Obamacare policies after losing $430 million, the company announced Monday. Its move follows downsizings by UnitedHealthcare (UNH), which will operate in only three states in 2017, and Humana (HUM), which is withdrawing from nearly 1,200 counties in eight states.”

Citing losses in the billions, they say they can no longer do what they were founded to do. Keep in mind, if the single payer option wasn’t cut out of the ACA, this would not be happening. Yes, our taxes would be higher, but it would be well worth the extra contribution to make sure that our neighbors receive the health care they need. Not giving a crap about the health and well being of your neighbors, or believing that money is more important that humanity, kinda makes a person a bit of a dick.

But I digress…

The insurance companies, in collusion with the pharmaceutical industry, created the pre-ACA monster of skyrocketing healthcare costs and the exclusion of tens of millions of people from reaping the benefits of health insurance. Seeking higher and higher profits, the pharmaceutical companies steadily increased the cost of their products, knowing full well that the insurance companies would pay what was asked. The insurance companies could afford this because they made sure that they only covered low risk policyholders, and those that were high risk were not paid benefits for anything – no matter how remotely – connected to a pre-existing condition.

This led to more people using the emergency room as their primary care physicians, meaning more unpaid medical bills, which led to higher prices for health insurance, which allowed the pharmaceutical companies to raise their prices, which meant more sick people who cannot afford health insurance, which returns to more people using the ER as their primary care physicians. It’s a circle of profit, and it was quite lucrative for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries for a very long time.

But all those sick people…

Yeah, see, therein lies the rub. As the number of people who remained uninsured rose to record levels, it started to effect the economy. President Obama and those who aided in the development of the ACA, reasoned that a healthier population would be a win for everyone. And he was right, except an ill-informed populace freaked out over the single payer option, and began seeing Nazis behind every curtain. They demanded that the single payer option be removed because it was ‘socialist,’ and that is not allowed in the United States, dammit!

Well, except for the police departments, fire departments, libraries, public transportation, public schools, parks and recreation, bridges and tunnels, roads in general….

Back on point.

The ACA was stripped of the single payer option, which effectively took tax revenue portion that was to fund the ACA out of the picture, and put the lion’s share of the cost back onto the insurance companies, to which was reported by me and many, many others, to be a recipe for disaster. How long would these companies be willing to absorb the costs that were initially relegated to the taxpayers without dramatically raising their premiums in order to maintain their profit margin, or just backing out of the system altogether? They weren’t going to stand for a reduction in their profit, that was never going to be a surprise.

So, when the news hit that Aetna, Humana, and the other big players were pulling out, the cries from the GOP and the uber-Capitalists are being heard around the nation with lamentations of how the ACA caused this, and that the blood and bandages of all of those who are going to be force to go without healthcare once again, is on the hands of the Obama administration. And instead of realizing that the very people who lobbied for the exclusion of the single payer option are the cause of this problem, the usual suspects are blaming the one body of people who lost the battle to prevent it.

Your increased insurance premiums, unbelievably high out of pocket deductibles, and your ridiculously high co-pays under the ACA is not the fault of the ACA. It’s the fault of the insurance companies, who are now reaping what they have sown by virtue of their greed, and are passing their consequences onto you, their customers.

Period. End of story.

 

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