Aetna Will Complete Its Exit from Obamacare in 2018 as the Death Spiral Continues

Aetna announced that it will complete its exit from Obamacare exchanges in 2018 by no longer offering policies in Nebraska or Delaware. The company expects to lose over $200 million in the individual business line this year, after losing approximately $700 million from 2014 to 2016.

This latest news comes on the heels of Iowans discovering that they might have no health insurance offering in 2018, as both Aetna and Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield are exiting the state exchange.

For all the pompous rhetoric that we’re hearing from Democrats about people losing their insurance if Obamacare is repealed, they’re unwilling to acknowledge that individuals and families are already losing their insurance.

This isn’t just a case of it “not being perfect,” as Democrats like to tout. “Hey, at least it’s something!”

The Obamacare death spiral continues…

Insurers that plan to remain in Obamacare in 2018 are requesting enormous rate hikes. For example, CareFirst BCBS, with expected losses of $600 million in four years, is requesting over 50% rate increases in Maryland.

The Obamacare trend is growing more bleak and disastrous as each month passes without a repeal from Republicans.

It’s due time that Obamacare supporters accept the fact that it’s a failing system. And to point the finger at the big, bad insurance companies isn’t the answer.

Kevin Williamson at National Review wrote a phenomenal article, brilliantly explaining how the economic concept of scarcity plays a role in health insurance:

Putting mandates on insurance companies is not a cure for scarcity. Sometimes, it makes things worse. Insurance companies operate by making a very careful study of actuarial information, which allows them to make remarkably accurate predictions about the medical needs of large populations with known demographic characteristics. Nobody knows whether any given 60-year-old man will have a heart attack this year, but stack up 10 million of them, and the pointy-headed actuarial nerds can tell you with a high degree of accuracy how many of them will. But we want insurance to be something different: We want it to be the conqueror of scarcity. So we do things like mandate coverage of preexisting medical conditions, which is to say, we demand that they place bets against things that already have happened. The usual metaphor here is offering fire insurance after the house already has burned down, and that is apt. We are asking them to bet against the Patriots in the 2017 Super Bowl after the fact, in 2018, in 2019, 2020, etc.

As Ted Cruz suggests, let’s hope that Obamacare can be truly repealed in one bill. The Republicans will only have one shot at this!

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Matt Christensen

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