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Aetna CEO: Obamacare is in a “Death Spiral”

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 15:07
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It isn’t just Republicans warning the American public that the days of the Affordable Care Act are coming to an end. Health insurance companies are sounding the alarm as well. In addition to yanking their plans off the Obamacare markets in many states, some insurance CEOs – like Mark Bertolini of Aetna – are publicly predicting the imminent demise of the healthcare scheme.

In an interview at a Wall Street Journal event on Wednesday, Bertolini said that Obamacare was in a “death spiral” from which it could not recover. In the interview, the Aetna CEO said that more insurance companies would pull out of the market in the coming weeks, leaving many areas with no available providers when the system opens back up for 2018 coverage.

“It’s not going to get any better,” he said. “It’s getting worse.”

Bertollini’s prediction came a day after Humana announced that it would no longer provide any insurance coverage through the Obamacare exchange markets. The healthcare giant had already scaled back its ACA options considerably; in a statement, the company said that there was no way for them to make a profit based on the existing customer base. Other insurance companies, including UnitedHealth Group, have also taken a dramatic step back from the markets.

The Trump administration has made no secret of its desire to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but they are trying to keep the marketplace stable until Republicans come up with a plan. The administration released a proposed rule on Wednesday that is intended to provide some level of stability to an extremely shaky insurance marketplace. Whether these rules are implemented – or whether they will stave off the inevitable collapse – remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, this is another sign that Republicans need to work doubletime to get a replacement package on the table. There isn’t much time to waste. The opportunity to sit back and wait for it to implode has passed. The GOP has made too much noise, and their own comments have contributed to the instability of the marketplace. Yes, it would be obscene to actually blame Republicans for a failure that was coming sooner or later, but that won’t stop Democrats and the media from doing just that.

Get a bill on the floor and let’s get this thing going. Millions of voters are losing their patience.

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