Friday, January 24, 2014

Over the cliff? [UPDATED]

[Please scroll down for update - HGS]

We've maintained for a long time that the actual intended result of the ObamaTax was, in fact, Single Payer. And the evidence making that case continues to pile up:

"Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told CNBC on Wednesday that Obamacare has failed to attract the uninsured, and he offered a scenario in which the insurance company could be forced to pull out of program ... He said that so far, Obamacare has just shifted people who were insured in the individual market to the public exchanges where they could get a better deal on a subsidy for coverage"

Let's unpack this a bit, shall we?

First, I think it is rather frightening - and instructive - that the CEO of a publicly traded company, let alone a major player in the health insurance market, is signaling that his company may willingly walk away from its individual policy market. That represents a major portion of its core business, and he's saying that it may well go "poof."

Second, the news - and most of our readers already know this, of course - that the majority of the "new" business coming into the Exchanges is, in fact, folks whose previous coverage was cancelled despite the President's explicit and repeated promise that this would not happen. So we're not talking about "newly" insured here. As Yogi Berra, CLU might opine, "the uninsured are staying away in droves."

Not exactly what we were promised, either.

UPDATE: In the comments, John F and Bob H make the point that this may be much ado about, well, nothing much. Upon reflection, I think I have to agree with them. On the other hand, it's probably worth at least noting that Aetna is signalling their concern over the viability of the individual market. Is this concern over-stated? Perhaps. It will be, um, interesting to see how this plays out.
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