That from none other than The New York Times:
As technical failures bedevil the rollout of President Obama’s health care law, evidence is emerging that
one of the program’s loftiest goals — to encourage competition among insurers in an effort to keep costs low — is falling short for many rural Americans.
While competition is intense in many populous regions, rural areas and small towns have far fewer carriers offering plans in the law’s online exchanges. Those places, many of them poor, are being asked to choose from some of the highest-priced plans in the 34 states where the federal government is running the health insurance marketplaces, a review by The New York Times has found.
Of the roughly 2,500 counties served by the federal exchanges, more than half, or 58 percent, have plans offered by just one or two insurance carriers, according to an analysis by The Times of county-level data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services. In about 530 counties, only a single insurer is participating.
The analysis suggests that the ambitions of the Affordable Care Act to increase competition have unfolded unevenly, at least in the early going, and have not addressed many of the factors that contribute to high prices. Insurance companies are reluctant to enter challenging new markets, experts say, because medical costs are high, dominant insurers are difficult to unseat, and powerful hospital systems resist efforts to lower rates.
“There’s nothing in the structure of the Affordable Care Act which really deals with that problem,” said John Holahan, a fellow at the Urban Institute, who noted that many factors determine costs in a given market. “I think that all else being equal, premiums will clearly be higher when there’s not that competition.”
Higher premiums for the poor, and insurance cancellations for hundreds of thousands of others:
The Affordable Care Act was signed by President Obama in 2010 and since then he has repeated one reassuring phrase: “If you like your insurance plan you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn’t happened yet. It won’t happen in the future.”
But it is happening. The president’s health care law raises the standards for insurance policies, which many consider to be a good thing. But hundreds of thousands of Americans whose policies don’t meet the new standards are being told that their health plans are being cancelled.
Natalie Willes is a sleep consultant who helps parents in Los Angeles train their newborns to sleep. She buys her own health insurance.
“I was completely happy with the insurance I had before,” Willes said.
So she was surprised when she tried to renew her policy. What did she find out?
“That my insurance was going to be completely different, and they were going to be replaced with 10 new plans that were going to fall under the regulations of the Affordable Care Act,” she said.
Her insurer, Kaiser Permanente, is terminating policies for 160,000 people in California and presenting them with new plans that comply with the healthcare law.
“Before I had a plan that I had a $1,500 deductible,” she said. “I paid $199 dollars a month. The most similar plan that I would have available to me would be $278 a month. My deductible would be $6,500 dollars, and all of my care after that point would only be covered 70 percent.”
Gerry Kominski, director of public health policy at UCLA said: “About half of the 14 million people who buy insurance on their own are not going to be able to keep the policies that they had previously.”
He says higher premiums help insurers pay for new requirements including accepting patients with pre-existing conditions and providing preventative care like check-ups and vaccines.
Hurting the poor, hurting the middle class but helping those connected to the Obamas.
Who in hell is left in the world that thinks this could still be a good thing?
And what the hell would it take to convince them otherwise?
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