Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bye-Bye, "Health Republic"

by JASmius

This ObamaCare coop collapse is especially noteworthy for two particular reasons: (1) It's New York's biggest, and (2) it was flush with taxpayer cash only a year ago:

Health Republic of New York made a big splash when it debuted in 2014 with rock-bottom health insurance prices that undercut its competitors across the State.

Its premium rates were 30% below average in Onondaga County. The new company, backed with $265 million in federal loans, quickly captured the biggest share of new business on the State’s health insurance [cartel] created by the federal [Una]ffordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. [emphasis added]

Isn't that what used to be known as predatory pricing?  Aren't there anti-trust laws against that sort of thing?  Answer: Of course there are - it's just that the federal government is exempt from them.

But this is also that same untenable "business" model of confiscating market share at the expense of any even remotely hypothetical possibility of reaping any profit from it because of the tsunami of cost from the stampede of old and sick people that rushed in to sign up.

But is Health Republic going down alone?  What do you think?:

New York hospitals and doctors are worried they may be left holding the bag for millions of dollars owed to them by Health Republic, the financially troubled health insurer regulators are shutting down November 30th.

Hospitals are owed more than $160 million, according to the Healthcare Association of New York State — HANYS for short, a hospital trade group. Syracuse’s three hospitals are owed $2.2 million.

The State Medical Society is surveying doctors to find out how much they are owed. It estimates the insurer owes doctors “tens of millions of dollars.”

Hospitals and physicians are demanding that Albany reimburse them for the $160 million tab Health Republic ran up.  Which seems fair as far as it goes - especially since New York is among the "bluest" of States and whose voters can therefore be said to have brought it on themselves - but guess who is opposing this demand?  Private health insurance carriers, whose own federal bailout program has now expired and isn't being renewed.  "Why," they ask, "should taxpayers bail out medical providers for all the business the State of New York stole from us when we're not being extended that same courtesy?"

That seems fair also, as far as it goes.  But everybody knows that ultimately, it's the taxpayers - thee (but not me, since I haven't had an income for a year and a half) - who are going to be paying for the entire ObamaCare disaster from sea to impoverished sea, no matter how it turns out.

Exit question: Are there any ObamaCare coops that haven't collapsed?  And is it a good sign that all private health insurance carriers are still in business, or is it just a matter of time before they implode as well?

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