Monday, May 16, 2016

White House: ObamaCare "Saved" The Private Health Insurance Market

by JASmius

Ever deeper, every day, do we fall through the looking glass.  Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, their supporters, one absolutely delusional, fantasist declarative after another having absolutely no connection to reality, not just fundamentally dishonest, but actively, vehemently counter-factual.  It's like everybody has turned into Jennifer Goines....

....and we're being drafted into a forced march through the red forest....

....only nobody today was forcing Josh Earnest to drink the red tea:

The private healthcare market is just better today than it was before - that's just a fact says @PressSec

No, Josh, that's not a "fact".  In fact, it's a counter-fact:

The study from McKinsey & Company finds that in 2014, insurers had a [profit] margin of minus-4.8%, translating to an overall loss of $2.7 billion on the individual health insurance market, which includes ObamaCare’s [cartel]s.

The study finds those losses roughly doubled in 2015 to between minus-9% and -11% margins, based on preliminary data.

Many insurers have been complaining about their losses on the ObamaCare [cartel]s and are pushing for policy changes. Premium increases are expected to be higher for next year than in previous years, which is likely to become an election issue. [emphasis added]

In other words, the long-predicted, and fundamentally inevitable, "death spiral", the premium increases to desperately try and avert it of which will be blamed - natch - not on the Obama Regime, but on the "greedy, profiteering insurance companies," whose spiraling losses will never get mentioned.

The private individual health insurance market is, in fact, already broken and the only thing propping it up is not a market factor at all, but the level of federal subsidies:

The individual market has little risk of entering a classic insurance “death spiral” as long as the federal government continues to offer subsidies to those with incomes below 400% of the federal poverty level. Given the unique regulatory conditions of this market, the key determinants of its stability are not the traditional factors (risk and cost of care for this segment), but rather the ongoing subsidy payments. [emphases added]

Boost subsidies, and higher premiums can be green-lighted.  Pump up subsidies on the consumer end and the pressure on suppliers (the private health insurance carriers) can be eased.  For a while.  But it's a runaway system, unsustainable.  Boosting subsidies isn't a stabilizing factor, it's a time-buying one, a kicking of the proverbial can down the road.  Stabilization means bringing healthcare inflation under control, which ObamaCare was originally fraudulently sold as doing ("bending the cost curve downward," "saving each American family of four $2,500 a year") and has, of course, done the precise opposite, as it was always going to do.

There is, as aforementioned, more than one way to destroy the private health insurance market.  If economic factors won't get the job done, political factors just might.  The long-established, almost cliched public dislike of ObamaCare has always been taken by the Right as a sign that the public had soured on government-run healthcare and wanted a return to the free-market version.  But that has never been concretely manifested by events.  First, Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012, which was the point of no-return for any chance of pre-implementation O-Care repeal.  Then Ted Cruz gambled on that assumption again with his Defundageddon/government shutdown showdown gambit, and again the public proved to be not as anti-ObamaCare as was believed.  Yet the Unaffordable Care Act has remained down in the polls ever since.

So if the public doesn't like ObamaCare but is indifferent to its repeal, what can that possibly mean?

If you're getting that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, congratulations on your insightful "gut" instincts:

Americans believe the government should replace the [Una]ffordable Care Act with a federally-funded healthcare system — an idea approved of by Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a new Gallup poll reveals.

Given three separate possibilities for the future of the [Una]ffordable Care Act, 58% favor replacing the current law with a federally funded healthcare system that provides insurance for all Americans, as Sanders advocates....

When Gallup asked those who favor keeping the [Una]ffordable Care Act or replacing it with a federally-funded system to choose one of them, they chose the federally-funded option by a 2-to-1 margin — 64% to 32%.

ObamaCare was the fascization of American healthcare in that it was a government takeover that hid behind a market disguise, the purpose of which was to (1) screw up the private health insurance market while (2) ensuring that insurance companies, and not the government, were tarred with the blame.  And now, not even three full years into the UCA, the political foundation for a switch to single-payer has now been established and prepared for that next step, which will be taken by the Rodham administration and Pelosi-Schumer Democrat SuperCongress whose election this fall Trumpmania has made a fait accompli.

The insurance companies will be put out of business after all, because the feds will have plainly and simply stolen their entire clientele by law.- and by the will of the American people.

The White House spokesjerk is still shoveling with both hands for now.  But that sort of thing will not be necessary for much longer.

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