You know that you've failed as a democratic law maker if even the New York Times trashes your signature "achievement" as "too expensive and inaccessible." Unfortunately for the Obama administration, that is exactly how the Times chose to describe Obamacare concluding that it will "almost certainly have to change to survive."
Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement will almost certainly have to change to survive. The two parties agree that for too many people, health plans in the individual insurance market are still too expensive and inaccessible.
For once, we would tend to agree with the New York Times as we've recently pointed out the epic collapse of carrier coverage across the country and soaring exchange rates for the 2017 plan year (see "Stunning Maps Depict Collapse Of Obamacare "Coverage" In 2017" and "Obamacare On "Verge Of Collapse" As Premiums Set To Soar Again In 2017").
First, the number of health insurance providers pulling out of exchanges for the 2017 plan year has left a staggering number of counties across the country with only 1 insurance "option."
2016 healthcare insurance carriers by county:
2017 healthcare insurance carriers by county:
Meanwhile, premiums across the country are expected to soar in 2017.
But for those of you who may be jumping to the conclusion that the New York Times finally came to the realization that modern-day government bureaucrats are potentially the worst allocators of capital ever in history, we have some bad news because apparently the Times' is "calling for more government, not less." Which has Senator Merkley and 32 other Senate democrats calling for a "public option."
“Supporters of the public option warned that private insurance companies could not be trusted to provide reliable coverage or control costs,” said Richard J. Kirsch, who led a grass-roots organization that fought for passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010. “The shrinking number of health insurers is proof that these warnings were spot on.”
On Sept. 15, Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, introduced a resolution calling for a public option. The measure now has 32 co-sponsors, including the top Senate Democrats: Harry Reid of Nevada, Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois.
“You need competition to make the exchanges successful,” Mr. Merkley said in an interview. “A public option guarantees there’s competition in each and every exchange around the country.”
But with most insurers around the country complaining that they're losing $100's of millions on the Obamacare exchanges, it's no wonder that Senate Democrats would call on the only investors in the world that are willing to consistently lose money offering a service: the American taxpayer. If at first you don't succeed just throw more tax dollars at it.
But, Andrew Slavitt, of CMS, still sees hope for Obamacare arguing that subsidies just need to be higher and penalties need to be raised to force more young, healthy people to purchase a product they don't need.
Andrew M. Slavitt, the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the administration was taking steps to ensure “a stable, sustainable marketplace” — by increasing payments to insurers for “high-cost enrollees” and by curbing any abuse of “special enrollment periods” by people who sign up for coverage after they become sick. In addition, federal officials are redoubling efforts to sign up young adults.
“Even the most ardent proponents of the law would say that it has structural and technical problems that need to be addressed,” she said. “The subsidies were not generous enough. The penalties for not getting insurance were not stiff enough. And we don’t have enough young healthy people in the exchanges.”
Oh well, at least we can still agree that Obamacare is "too expensive and inaccessible" even if we're not convinced that the facts would support the creation of yet another entitlement ponzi scheme.