Here we are, several years after the passage of the so-called Affordable Care Act and it’s already on the brink of collapse. Many people predicted this would happen. Some have even suggested it was intentional.
The Guardian reports:
Obamacare ‘on the cusp of falling apart’ as insurers flee health exchanges
When Christine Lo left her job in June, she was hoping Obamacare would mean she could still have health insurance.
Lo, 35, was confronted by a confusing enrollment process, which she said resulted in persistent calls from insurers trying to lure her in. Although she knew she would face tax penalties if she didn’t get coverage, she chose to cancel doctors’ appointments and go uninsured until she found a new job.
“I’m going to focus on finding a job that lets me have health insurance right away to avoid the whole Obamacare thing,” said Lo, who works in film and TV in New York.
Lo’s frustrations come as Barack Obama prepares to depart the White House and leave his legacy healthcare reform, officially known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), in the hands of a new president.
The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has said he will scrap Obamacare altogether on day one while the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to try and rescue the health law as it enters a new, and worrying, stage in its development.
By many measures the ACA has been a tremendous success. Some 20 million more people now have insurance thanks to the ACA; people under the age of 26, who often skip insurance, can be covered by their parents’ plans; and people with existing conditions cannot be discriminated against. But the ACA relies on competition between insurers to provide affordable coverage, and that is dwindling.
Under the ACA, health insurance marketplaces, also called health exchanges, were set up to facilitate the purchase of health insurance in each state. Customers are free to choose from a set of standardized healthcare plans from participating insurers, and those policies are eligible for federal subsidies.
But insurers have been fleeing the exchanges, arguing that they are loss makers and the types of people attracted to them make the risks too great for the insurers to provide affordable (and profitable) policies.
America needs to unleash the power and creativity of the free market, as Trump has suggested.
If health insurance companies can compete in a free market, they can solve this problem in a way that benefits everyone.