Obamacare appears close to the abyss. State can and should push it on over the edge.
On Aug. 15, Aetna announced it will stop selling insurance policies on the Obamacare insurance exchanges in 11 of the 15 states where it participates, reversing plans to expand into five new states in 2017.
“The exchanges are a mess as they exist today,” Aetna Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini said. “They’re losing a lot of money for a lot of people.”
This was just the latest in a series of dominoes to fall. The four largest U.S. insurance companies report millions of dollars in losses, and Aetna was merely following the lead of UnitedHealth Group and Humana when it decided to cut its ties with the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Bloomberg reported the extent of the problems in a recent article.
“UnitedHealth expects to lose $850 million on Obamacare in 2016, while Aetna, Anthem, and Humana are all on track to lose at least $300 million each on their ACA plans this year, according to company reports and estimates from Bloomberg Intelligence. UnitedHealth says it’s quitting 31 of the 34 states where it sells ACA policies. Humana is exiting 8 of 19 states and reducing its presence to just 156 counties, from 1,351 a year ago. Anthem hasn’t announced plans to change its participation in the program.”
Obamacare has also failed on its promise of “affordability.” While more Americans have insurance under the program, the cost has skyrocketed for many families. A Kaiser Family Foundation report found premiums for “low-cost plans” under the Affordable Care Act are projected to increase an average of 11 percent in 2017.
This pullout of major insurers from the exchanges represents a body blow to the healthcare program that has left it reeling, as Bloomberg makes clear.
“After surviving numerous legal challenges and attacks by Republicans in Congress, plus a botched rollout in 2013, Obamacare now faces what is perhaps its most serious threat: The program is a clear money loser for the nation’s biggest insurance companies. While Obamacare can compel individuals to buy insurance—a mandate upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012—the law has no authority to force insurance companies to offer plans through its exchanges.”
Opponents of this unconstitutional, government run healthcare program have tried everything to stop it, from lawsuits to electoral politics, all to no avail. Even when Republicans gained control of Congress, they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, take action to repeal Obamacare.
Now economic realities have started a process that politics in D.C. couldn’t, and the ongoing meltdown in the exchanges represents an opportunity for states to take action that could potentially usher in a complete collapse of the system under its own weight.
As a first step, every state helping run an exchange should stop. Let the federal government run these failing boondoggles themselves. States are under no legal obligation to run insurance exchanges for the federal government. Legislatures in every state currently not running an Obamacare exchange should pass legislation prohibiting the creation of one, cementing this noncooperation into law.
Beyond that, states can go further in their refusal to cooperate with the implementation operation of the Affordable Care Act. For example, state insurance commissioners can simply refuse to enforce federal insurance mandates. This would leave no enforcement mechanism at all, adding further stress to the floundering system.
While this may sound like a radical approach, the Supreme Court has consistently affirmed that the federal government cannot force states to assist with or provide resources for the implementation of federal programs. The anti-commandeering doctrine rests primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842.
Congress will never repeal Obamacare. Focusing on action in Washington D.C. to rid the country of this unconstitutional and disastrous takeover of America’s healthcare system is a complete waste of time and energy. But following these steps at the state level could send Obamacare on into the abyss where it belongs.
Judge Andrew Napolitano has said that multiple states putting our four-step plan to stop the federal act into practice will “gut Obamacare.”
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