Long-Term Stability Of ACA In Doubt As Insurers Continue To Jump Ship
“The exchanges are a mess as they exist today,” says Aetna's CEO Mark Bertolini. The company is the latest insurer to announce it is pulling out of most markets.
Obamacare’s In Trouble As Insurers Tire Of Losing Money
Last November, when UnitedHealth Group said it expected to post big losses on its Obamacare policies in 2016, rivals such as Anthem and Aetna signaled their Affordable Care Act businesses were doing fine. The Obama administration used that as evidence to refute claims that systemic problems were brewing in its landmark insurance program. Now, there’s no denying it. The four biggest U.S. health insurers admit they’re each losing hundreds of millions of dollars on their Obamacare plans. Rather than expand coverage, many are pulling out of the exchanges that were set up by the ACA so people can shop for insurance plans, often with the help of government subsidies. (Tracer, 8/17)
San Diego Union-Tribune:
Does Aetna Exit Signal Deeper Obamacare Problems?
The announcement, made Monday night, was the latest blow to the Affordable Care Act, which had already suffered the departure of top-five insurers Humana and UnitedHealthcare and has seen double-digit premium increases for many of the carriers that will continue to sell through health exchanges such as Covered California next year. In general, carriers have said too many sick patients are the main reason they’re dropping out of exchanges or raising rates. With not enough young and healthy enrollees to balance out the claims ledgers, the three companies that are pulling out or downscaling said they have lost hundreds of millions of dollars. (Sisson, 8/16)
The Wall Street Journal:
Health-Law Setback Becomes Campaign Fodder
The decision by the nation’s third-largest health insurer to pull out of the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges in nearly a dozen states is a double whammy to President Barack Obama’s signature health law, increasing financial strains on the program while dragging the debate over its merits into the presidential campaign. Republicans opposed to the law immediately pointed to Aetna Inc.’s decision, which followed similar moves by other major insurers, as evidence that the law isn’t working as intended and sought to rally voters. Donald Trump’s presidential campaign labeled the Aetna move a sign that “this broken law…is slowly imploding under its regulatory red tape.” (Armour and Wilde Mathews, 8/16)
In other national health care news —
The Wall Street Journal:
Fed Survey: Obamacare Causing Companies To Cut Jobs
Many companies are cutting jobs in response to rising health care costs spurred by the Affordable Care Act, according to a new survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Roughly one-fifth of service sector and manufacturing company executives said they are reducing the number of workers in response to provisions in the healthcare law, according to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey and the Business Leaders Survey. The New York fed surveyed about 100 executives in the manufacturing sector and roughly 150 executives in the services sector located in New York State, Northern New Jersey and Fairfield County, Connecticut earlier this month. (Monga, 8/16)
The Washington Post:
The Abortion Rights Movement Is Bolder Than It’s Been In Years. That’s Cecile Richards’s Plan.
On the morning of one of the most important days in her career, Cecile Richards waited anxiously in her office at Planned Parenthood headquarters in Manhattan, texting furiously with friends across the country. A few minutes past 10 a.m., a message from her daughter flashed across the screen. A single word: Yay! “That was when I knew we’d won,” Richards says, recalling the moment when she learned of the decision in the biggest abortion-related case to come before the Supreme Court in more than two decades. In a 5-to-3 vote, the justices had ruled that Texas’s restrictions on abortion clinics placed an “undue burden” on women seeking to end their pregnancies. (Gibson, 8/16)
The Wall Street Journal:
Medicating Children With ADHD Keeps Them Safer
While some bumps and scares are inevitable for active guys like him, serious misadventures with long-lasting repercussions are often par for the course for a subset of them—those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. But a new article suggests that early medication can significantly cut the odds of bad things happening later. ... Indeed, accidents are the most common cause of death in individuals with ADHD, with one 2015 study of over 710,000 Danish children finding that 10- to 12-year-olds with ADHD were far more likely to be injured than other children their age. Drug treatment made a big difference, however, nearly halving the number of emergency room visits by children with ADHD. (Pinker, 8/16)