For a couple of years now we've highlighted various data points suggesting that Obamacare was, and continues to be, in an inescapable death spiral that will end in a spectacular collapse of healthcare exchanges around the country. While there are a number of reasons that Obamacare was doomed from the start, it basically all boils down to the original failed logic that millions of young, healthy Americans would gladly pay out the nose for a product they didn't want and knew they would never use all to fulfill a civic obligation to subsidize the healthcare costs of their older and/or less fortunate neighbors.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, most Americans simply aren't wired that way.
In fact, as we pointed last week, a study from Mark Farrah and Associates found that the "off-exchange market" (i.e. people who make too much money to quality for subsidies and whose premiums are required to subsidize everyone else who does qualify) contracted by 2.1mm in 2016, or a 29% drop. With those kind of declines, it's only a matter of time until there are no more rich fools in the pool willing to continue subsidizing a broken system.
Also, MFA published the same report in 2016, facilitating a year-over-year comparison. The on-exchange market fell from 12,681,874 to 12,216,003 individuals, a reduction of 465,871 or 4 percent. However, the off-exchange market fell from 7,520,939 to 5,361,451, a reduction of 2,159,488 or 29 percent. In other words, enrollment is steady among those who receive subsidies but declining dramatically among those who do not.
Much has been made of the question of whether the individual markets are in a “death spiral.” Given that the on-exchange market enrollment is relatively stable, there is clearly not a death spiral in the subsidized market. However, with a reduction in the unsubsidized market of 29 percent in just one year, that pattern certainly looks like one we would expect in a market spiraling down.
That said, for some folks, including Bernie Sanders, the problem with Obamacare isn't that it's too socialist for Americans but rather not quite socialist enough. As such, we learn today that he Vermont Senator will introduce a bill calling for a single-payer healthcare system as soon as he gets back to Washington DC from his month-long vacation. Per The Hill:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to introduce his "Medicare for all" single-payer healthcare bill after Congress returns in September.
Speaking to constituents in Vermont Monday, Sanders admitted that the bill is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Congress or be signed by President Trump.
"If we pass this thing, it's not going to be tomorrow, it would be the most significant step forward legislatively since I suspect the creation of Social Security in the 1930s. It's a big deal," he said, according to The Associated Press.
Sanders has long argued in favor of a government-run universal healthcare system, commonly referred to as single-payer. It was included in his platform during his 2016 run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Of course, what Bernie's "Medicare for all" plan really equates to is another massive tax hike for Americans...you know, because the federal government has demonstrated time and again what efficient allocators of capital they are.
All of which just proves that if you don't like your Obamacare, too bad because Bernie's going to take your money anyway.