Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 10/7/16
Three stories – from Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arizona – drive our discussion today.
According to a story this week in the Wall Street Journal, the state insurance commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak, has approved health insurance company rate increase requests of up to 62 percent in an attempt to save the state’s Obamacare exchange. “I would characterize the exchange market as very near collapse,” she said.
Then comes news that BlueCross/BlueShield of Tennessee is pulling out of the state’s largest health care exchange markets – Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis – citing losses in excess of a half billion dollars.
United Healthcare announced last April that it is exiting Tennessee, again due to unsustainable losses.
Community Health Alliance, the Tennessee insurance co-op set up under Obamacare, is winding itself down due to financial failure.
Altogether, upwards of 200,000 Tennesseans will have to go find new coverage. They’ll find that they have few choices while facing skyrocketing premiums.
Now to Oklahoma.
BlueCross/BlueShield of Oklahoma has submitted rate increase requests that range from 58 to 96 percent – again because of unsustainable losses. About 130,000 Oklahomans who purchase individual coverage via Obamacare are affected. Those folks are just stuck. That’s because BlueCross/BlueShield is now the only company still on the Obamacare exchange in Oklahoma.
Nearly everywhere you look across the country, Obamacare exchanges are in various stages of collapse. None of the promises of the ironically-named Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act has been kept. The cost curve did not get bent downward. The average family is not saving $2,500 per year. Despite President Obama’s promises, consumers can’t keep health care plans with which they were happy, just as they can’t keep their doctors.
None of this was supposed to happen (although many of us knew it would).
The cynic, not without justification, will say that Obamacare was designed from the jump with the intention that it fail. As the state exchanges – which all rely on insurance purchased from for-profit insurance companies – begin to collapse, an opening is formed for the Left to say that it just proves that insurance companies are too greedy. What we need, they’ll say, is a federal single-payer system – i.e. government health care.
That takes us to Phoenix, Arizona.
Thus we come to a presidential election against a backdrop of widespread Obamacare collapse and the near perfect illustration that if the federal government can’t provide health care to a few hundred veterans in a single hospital in Arizona, there’s not a snowball’s chance that it can meet the health care needs of 320 million Americans flung across a continent.
Memo to Donald Trump: Despite the media wishing they would, most Americans don’t really care about your taxes or Miss Universe. But they care very deeply about affording their health care.
Hillary supported Obamacare, Donald. In the next two debates, make her regret it.