This commentary originally appeared in Townhall on April 21, 2017.
How many times must we hit our head against a brick wall before we stop? How many failures of ObamaCare must we suffer before we accept that it can’t work? Not won’t—can’t! When something is built on an incorrect concept, no amount of modification, adjustment, or tweaking will fix it.
If you take a submarine and put wings on it, it won’t get off the ground. Even if you triple the wingspan and double propeller size, it still can’t fly. Wrong design, flawed idea.
When Washington expands healthcare bureaucracy, people get less care, not more. You cannot use regulations to produce health care. It just doesn’t work, and a litany of insurance failures proves the point.
The latest example of failure in Washington’s “reform” of healthcare is the exit of yet another carrier from the ObamaCare insurance market. Aetna just announced withdrawal from the Iowa Exchange market effective 2018. Other large insurers have already quit selling ObamaCare insurance includingUnitedHealth, Humana, and Anthem Blue Cross.
They are all leaving for the same reason: selling ObamaCare insurance is a money-loser. The combination of increased expenditures associated with mandated benefit packages with the huge costs of ObamaCare administrative and regulatory bureaucracy is just too much. Carriers are annually losing $450 million (Aetna), $500 million (UnitedHealth), and $1 billion (Humana.) No one can keep doing that. No one, that is, except the federal government.
Washington has its own special answer when it spends more money than it can afford. Congress chants its version of the old Doritos® commercial saying, “Let’s go ahead and spend it! We’ll just print more!”
The Obama administration’s solution to insurance company losses was subsidies, risk corridors, and printing more money. Instead of dealing with why insurers are losing money—the massive costs of ObamaCare—Congress simply threw good taxpayer dollars after bad.
Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said that ObamaCare has put the health insurance industry into a “death spiral.” He is correct, not only for insurance carriers, but for people as well.
Close to one third of U.S. counties—representing 19 percent of insured patients—now have only a single carrier willing to sell health insurance. This gives monopoly power. In can’t find a doctor who will care for them or have to wait more than four months to see a family practice physician.
ObamaCare’s design flaw is literally a death spiral for Americans. The former president’s namesake reform plan takes money needed to pay for care and uses it to pay for bureaucracy. One cannot provide more health care—the service—by increasing the regulation of healthcare—the system. Not possible. Doesn’t work. Can never work.
Sadly, there is a good chance that things could get worse! Despite the GOP’s pre-2017 election promise for full repeal of ObamaCare to get rid of its expensive, complex, and unnecessary bureaucracy, they are now talking about tweaking the former president’s odious legacy.
Like the Democrats before them, GOP leaders seem to think they can solve the problem of over-regulation by passing new regulations. This is another design flaw in the making, or actually, a continuation of the old one. This flaw, like its predecessor, will prove fatal to We the People. It will have the same effect on us as all the earlier fixes of healthcare have had: more spending and less care.