The utterly predictable and often predicted is happening even faster than we might have expected: the jerrybuilt system known as ObamaCare, rammed through Congress on the basis of unsavory deals and without input, or a single vote from the out-of-power party, isn't even going to survive the Obama administration by much. Even former president Bill Clinton has acknowledged as much.
In a Wall Street Journal piece this morning headlined "ObamaCare's Meltdown Has Arrived," Andrew Ogles, a Tennessee state director, and Luke Hilgemann, CEO of Americans for Prosperity, write:
Tennessee is ground zero for ObamaCare’s nationwide implosion. Late last month the state insurance commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak, approved premium increases of up to 62% in a bid to save the exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act. “I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse,” she said.
Then last week BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced it would leave three of the state’s largest exchange markets—Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville. “We have experienced losses approaching $500 million over the course of three years on ACA plans,” the company said, “which is unsustainable.” As a result, more than 100,000 Tennesseans will be forced to seek out new coverage for 2017.
BlueCross is only the latest insurer to head for the exits. Community Health Alliance, the insurance co-op established under ObamaCare, is winding down due to financial failure, leaving 30,000 people without coverage. UnitedHealthcare said in April it is departing Tennessee’s exchange after significant losses. That’s another 41,000 people needing new plans.
All told, more than 60% of our state’s ObamaCare consumers will lose their coverage heading into 2017. When they go in search of a replacement plan, they will confront two unfortunate realities: a dearth of options and skyrocketing costs.
Needless to say, when confronted with the collapse of a dream, Democrats have a solution: more of what ails you. Ogles and Hilgeman write:
Naturally, this chain of events has Tennessee lawmakers clamoring for change. One of the loudest demands—coming from Democrats like Nashville’s U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper—is that the state double down on ObamaCare by expanding Medicaid. But this is a cure worse than the disease, since it would force many Tennesseans into a second-class health-care system while jeopardizing state finances for years to come.
More important, ObamaCare’s unraveling shows the danger of a one-size-fits-all federal program. What’s happening in Tennessee is only a nationwide harbinger. Every single neighboring state will have less competition on its ObamaCare exchanges next year. The entire state of Alabama will have only one insurer. Almost all are facing double-digit premium increases: in Mississippi a weighted average of 16%; in Kentucky 25%; in Georgia 33%.
Tennessee may be the first state to see the utter rout of ObamaCare, but this is a nationwide phenomenon. What with more pressing matters (such as a former Miss Universe's struggles with the bathroom scales) to be debated, we haven't talked much about ObamaCare in the presidential race.
But the next administration and Congress will confront the matter of what to do. Democrats want single-payer–i.e., more of the same.
Bill Clinton's welcome acknowledgment of the failure of ObamaCare was paving the way.