Health insurer Aetna Inc. will stop selling individual Obamacare plans next year in 11 of the 15 states where it had been participating in the program, joining other major insurers who’ve pulled out of the government-run markets in the face of mounting losses.
It will exit markets including North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Florida, and keep selling plans in Iowa, Delaware, Nebraska and Virginia, Aetna said in a statement Monday. In most areas it’s exiting, Aetna will offer individual coverage outside of the program’s exchanges.
The decision by Aetna is the latest blow to President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy law. While it has brought coverage to millions, the new markets have proven volatile for some of the largest for-profit insurers, and UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Humana Inc. are also pulling out, after posting hundreds of millions of dollars of their own losses. Aetna said earlier this year that it expects to lose $300 million on the plans.
Simple economics could have predicted this. Obamacare passed because people felt a need to “do something” about the hampered marketplace. Instead of liberalizing and opening up the marketplace, Obamacare clamped down on it even further, with its capricious and often contradictory regulations, subsidies, incentives and punishments.
Obamacare did what government intervention in the economy always does: make the product or service more expensive and harder to get.
If you want single-payer, literal socialized medicine, then Obamacare’s failure is a good thing. It took the hampered and overly regulated marketplace for health care and health insurance and made it even more dysfunctional. This leaves us with two choices: open up a totally free market in medicine, or nationalize and let government monopolize medicine, once and for all.
You know Hillary Clinton’s answer, and probably most of Congress’ answer as well. And even the current Supreme Court, as we know from the Obamacare decision, will not stop it.
Opening up the marketplace for medicine would mean taking steps that nobody in either party seems willing to discuss: privatizing (i.e., phasing out) Medicare and Medicaid (which are going broke anyway); deregulating health insurance, allowing consumers and health insurance companies/providers the opportunity to negotiate with each other on how to finance medical care; and completely deregulating the medical industry so that market forces (supply, demand, consumer preference, for-proit incentives)—not political edicts financed by the highest bidder in political donations—will determine the outcome.
It’s doubtful that Obama and Obamacare supporters ever expected the law to work. It’s frankly naïve to think they did. They wanted single-payer, government monopolized health care all along. Such approaches collapsed in death and despair in places like Communist Russia and Cuba. In places like Canada and Great Britain the government had to liberalize and partially privatize to get along. Yet somehow we’re supposed to believe that in America, command-and-control medical care, all originating out of a one-party government in Washington DC, will somehow fix everything.
Americans are paying the price for their economic ignorance and moral evasiveness when it comes to health care. Most Americans would never permit government to set a one-size-fits-all policy for cell phones, automobiles, clothing styles, or brands of toothpaste or cereal, in exchange for paying nothing for these items. Yet when it comes to the life-or-death activities of medical care, most Americans permit or even demand government take care of it. That’s why single-payer is most likely where we’ll be in a few more years, absent a free market reversal.
Nobody ever stops to consider how it can be wrong and inefficient for government to monopolize and ration out computer games, while it’s perfectly fine and just for government to monopolize, control and ration out cancer surgery or heart disease treatment. Do we want socialism or Communism in principle? No, most people still say. Yet that’s precisely what we’re going to get as Obamacare crashes and burns.
Unless, that is, we do what we should have done in the first place: Move decisively and consistently towards a free market in medicine, where government neither subsidizes nor controls.
In the end, it’s either capitalism or socialism; it’s either freedom or controls. If we keep rejecting capitalism and economic freedom, then we’re going to get socialism. For sure.
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