January 29, 2014

A Cloudy Future

It is impossible to look objectively at the Affordable Care Act until it ceases to become a campaign issue. With Mid-term House elections coming up, that won't happen anytime soon.

But looking at the ominous signs objectively, it becomes quite apparent that Obamacare is in critical condition and probably cannot survive long term.

Stripping aside politics and emotions, a rational look at events so far show the ACA is spiraling toward certain death unless things change drastically – and quickly.

That's because all the critical components needed for the system to work are failing.

The most serious is the inability to attract young adults to the plan. Young adults are healthy, and their participation is needed to offset older participants who have higher medical costs.

Only about a quarter of those who signed up so far are between the ages of 18 and 34, lower than the roughly 40 percent share that the White House and independent experts had originally forecast. Without their participation, the only way for the system to work is if rates are raised drastically.

The big HMOs that reluctantly came aboard after being wooed –- and bribed -- by President Obama are having second thoughts. Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said recently that Obamacare has failed to attract the uninsured, and he offered a scenario in which the insurance company could be forced to pull out of the program. That will start a chain reaction.

Target recently joined the growing ranks of large retailers that are dropping medical coverage for part time workers. Don't blame the stores — it's a better deal for the workers to take a cash stipend and instead sign up for Obamacare, because as moderate-income workers they will get a government subsidy – that means higher taxes. Millions of Americans who can't afford it will get health insurance – and the rest of us will have to pay for them, directly or indirectly, because the millions of new customers Obama promised simply are not there.

By the next presidential election any candidate that doesn't acknowledge repealing the ACA is the only logical action to take will be doomed to defeat.

In today's Independent, there is a chilling letter to the editor from a local insurance agent whose business has taken a huge toll because of Obamacare. This is the human side of this mess that hasn't been told yet – all over the country, and in every little town and big city, agents handle our health insurance, hire employees, rent and buy office space, and purchase equipment. They are, literally, the "Mom and Pops" this administration is supposed to be watching out for.

Read the letter and decide for yourself.

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