I just graduated from college, and I’m worried that recent developments in the health care sector of our economy foreshadow a bleak future for young people. Will I have access to care when I hit 30 years old? Thousands of Americans are losing insurance and the promise of “affordable care” seems like it was a lie.
Obamacare has created 23,000 newly uninsured people.
Connecticut’s state insurance commissioner Katharine Wade was recently forced to close the state’s health insurance co-op, HealthyCT, due to its hazardous financial condition. As of December 31, 2016 their members will no longer have any insurance.
Since June 2012, HealthyCT has received almost $128 million in federal loans, which includes a September 2014 solvency loan for $48.4 million. By this time, the co-op had planned to have over 70,000 enrolled members, but never came close to that goal with today’s current enrollment of just 23,000 members.
HealthyCT has been limping along for some time, but was pushed over the cliff once the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the payment schedule for co-ops in the last month. Under Obamacare’s risk adjustment program, money is redistributed from insurers with healthy customers to insurers with sicker, more costly customers. The Department of Health and Human Services expects HealthyCT to pay $13.4 million to cover insurers in other states. HealthyCT, whose website slogan states “Plans for People Not Profit,” apparently failed to charge their healthy members enough to cover states that typically have more unhealthy people.
HealthyCT is the 14th co-op to go belly up out of the original 23 established under Obamacare since the health care law’s exchanges first opened in 2013. The risk adjustment program was the final blow to HealthyCT, and may prove to be the downfall of the remaining nine co-ops. Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey, for example, will be expected to make the largest payment ($46.3 million) into the program.
Two of the nine remaining co-ops have taken legal action against the federal government in an attempt to stop the risk adjustment payments. Maryland’s Evergreen Health Cooperative has filed a lawsuit against both the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Maryland’s argument is that the risk adjustment calculations favor the larger insurance companies over smaller insurance companies like the co-ops. Maryland’s non-profit co-op is expected to hand over approximately 30 percent ($24 million) of the revenue from its premiums, which will most likely place the co-op in financial jeopardy.
Illinois’ co-op, Land of Lincoln Health, is expected to make a $31.8 million payment to cover other insurers. However, due to insolvency issues, Illinois Department of Insurance Acting Director Anne Melissa Dowling has ordered the co-op to delay its risk adjustment payment. If the Illinois co-op is forced to make their scheduled payment they will be forced to close the company mid-year.
Oregon’s Health co-op announced their receivership status earlier this month due to financial difficulties. The closure of this co-op left another 23,000 people uninsured. However, this should come as no surprise, considering the incompetence and corruption coming from Oregon’s state exchange.
After receiving more than $305 million in federal Obamacare loans, Oregon’s state exchange was forced to close their doors less than a year after opening. Even worse, Governor John Kitzhaber has no legitimate explanation for where all that money went. The House Oversight Committee released a report on the state’s health insurance exchange after a yearlong investigation. The report accused the governor and his staff of intentionally allowing the exchange to fail in order to facilitate a return to the federal Healthcare.gov program. Kitzhaber and his staff are also under a possible criminal investigation for misusing the $305 million to help fund a re-election campaign. The Kitzhaber administration has demonstrated corruption on many levels. The investigating committee obtained documents and testimony that show state officials used back-channel emails to in an attempt to cover their trail of squandering millions in taxpayer dollars.
When considering all the reports of state health insurance plans failing each month, and corrupt politicians like Governor Kitzhaber misappropriating funds for personal gain, it is highly unlikely there will be many health care options available in the near future. Before long the American people may be forced to accept President Obama’s dream of a single-payer system. However, as our health care choices are eliminated, what will remain is the $2.4 billion of taxpayer money that was loaned to the states to establish health care programs. This money has been wasted and misused in a poorly executed experiment that will result in fewer options and care that is less affordable.