UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, and Aetna, another major insurer, recently abandoned California’s individual health insurance market. This ran as a business story but it’s really about Obamacare.
The companies’ departure from the individual market is clearly a response to the Affordable Care Act, and that departure has already made it harder for individuals. UnitedHealth’s departure will “force about 8,000 customers to find new coverage.” Aetna’s departure will leave 50,000 individuals looking for new coverage.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones told reporters “I don’t think this is a good result for consumers. It means less choice, less competition and even more consolidation of the individual market with three big carriers.” As this writer recently confirmed, consumers will also need new coverage from companies that remain. States are also having a hard time with Obamacare.
As the Washington Post reported, “facing tight deadlines and daunting workloads, states across the country are scaling back ambitions for implementing the Affordable Care Act.” Connecticut, like other states across the country, “has lowered the bar.” But one would never know it from the statements of government officials.
Alicia Hartinger of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services explains that “Americans in every state will be able to shop for quality, affordable insurance in a marketplace beginning October 1, 2013. We have provided states with the flexibility they need to build a marketplace that meets their needs, and we are working closely with them to ensure that they are ready.”
But with major players such as Aetna and UnitedHealth dropping out of the market in California, that “quality, affordable insurance,” will be harder to find. So will quality care. This writer has confirmed that doctors are choosing to take early retirement rather work under the strictures of Obamacare.
The Affordable Care Act enhances neither care nor affordability. It will degrade both while saddling all Americans with a host of new taxes and regulations. Little wonder that Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, sees implementation of Obamacare as a “train wreck.”
The president and Congress could have easily improved health care by giving the tax breaks to individuals rather than their employers. But the federal government rejects common-sense solutions in its quest to colonize even more of American life. That’s what Obamacare is about.