Sometimes a simple word like “failure” can be redefined to suit a particular person’s point of view. It is not that the definition has changed, merely adjusted to meet the needs of a person’s self-imposed perspective. The factual meaning of failure is the “lack of success.”
By that measure, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has been a failed program from its inception and will continue to limp along until we put it out of its misery.
I opposed the ACA from the beginning. My opposition was based in the simple knowledge that our federal government is incapable of administering a program like the ACA. One only needs to look at the Veterans Administration to understand the federal government is ill-suited for the delivery of goods and services. Two years removed from the most recent VA scandal and very little has changed.
Our government was never designed to oversee the type of health care model our society needs (or for that matter, any customer-centric service model). The ACA merely joined the long list of failed federal endeavors, just another folly to the absurd belief that “if only we had more money, more regulation, more control,” politicians could fix all they perceive to ail our society. Like crazed gamblers who can’t step away from the craps table, too many refuse to admit the ACA was the wrong solution, as they continue to double-down. However, unlike gamblers who bet with their own money, our politicians are gambling with the money of hard-working taxpayers and jeopardizing the structural stability of a vital, albeit flawed, health care system that has generally served its communities well.
The ACA was conceived in falsehood, promoted by ambitious politicians consumed by their own hubris, and blind to the eventual course the ACA would take. Like so many programs enacted by the D.C. elites, it is more about feeling good than doing good. President Obama started our country down this road by promising “a typical” family would see a yearly $2,500 savings in their health care costs. Yet, we have seen health care coverage increase substantially, and in some cases drastically.
This past May, California’s ACA outreach program, known as “Coverage California,” expressed some anxiety that cost would increase by potentially 8 percent, after two years of steady increases. Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, stated, “We shouldn’t put too much focus on this 8 percent number when we will know the reality in two months.” Lee was right, sort of. In July, Covered California announced the cost would increase by 13 percent. As if Covered California and the ACA aren’t already strained enough, California is attempting to add millions of illegal immigrants to the program.
Politico reported recently that Americans should expect “potential sticker shock, coupled with the likelihood many consumers will have fewer (health care) choices” in 2017. New Jersey is looking at 5 to 20 percent increases, and in Wisconsin some health care providers will increase premiums by 30 percent. One carrier in Pennsylvania wants to increase the average health care premium by 40 percent, while in New Hampshire two carriers are planning to increase cost on certain plans upwards of 30 percent or more.
The situation across the nation can be summed up by Julie Mix McPeak, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, in her recent statement: “I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse…”
A closer look at the numbers and funding reveals one of the flaws many warned of: the ACA was just another government-sanctioned Ponzi scheme. Shifting money from the rich to help the poor. What they did, in fact, was take money from Americans, and wasted billions, with no real change to the few flaws we should have been focused on.
The Congressional Budget Office reported recently that employer-based health insurance costs, premiums are projected to increase by almost 60 percent by 2025. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predicts health insurance spending will rise from an average base of $7,786 in 2016 to $11,681 in 2024.
Adding to the weight of the ACA’s impending doom, health care providers not increasing their premium cost are fleeing the system (like most of us knew they would). Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Blue Cross and Blue Shield (NM, MN), and Scott & White Health Plan are leaving the ACA either entirely, or staying in only a few markets. Add that to the news that 70 percent of the ACA’s co-ops have failed or are in financial peril (even after receiving billions in taxpayer support), a person with any ounce of commonsense is left with the simple truth that the ACA is a failure.
But not to worry, D.C. high rollers have a plan. Double-down and throw the dice on a single-payer health care system.
Bernie Sanders touted single-payer while running for president. Hillary Clinton has hinted at it. Former secretary of labor for the Clinton administration, Robert Reich, points to Aetna’s decision as a reason a single-payer system is “inevitable.” Reich is kind in not laying the blame on the ACA, but he uses the default liberal excuse that evil, greedy insurance companies are to blame for the ACA’s failings. Reich’s answer to our current governmental failure is the bigger government, socialist, utopian single-payer system.
I am not opposed to updating how we as a society deliver health care and offer health insurance to Americans, nor am I opposed to providing a safety net to those in need. However, we are a non-homogeneous society of 320 million people, living in different climates, from many different ethnic backgrounds. The ACA demonstrated once again why the federal government’s approach to “one size fits all” will always fail. The biggest problem is that too many refuse to admit failure even when it hits them in the face. Until we admit the ACA was a failure, we will never be able to successfully provide a solution.