The big story, drowned out by the firing of James Comey

From The Chicago Tribune:

Aetna says it won’t participate in any Obamacare exchanges

by Tom Murphy | Associated Press | May 11, 2017 | 7:53 AM

While Republicans rewrite the Affordable Care Act in Washington, the immediate future of the law has grown hazier with the nation’s third-largest health insurer saying that it will completely divorce itself from state-based insurance exchanges.

Aetna says it won’t sell individual coverage in Nebraska and Delaware next year after projecting a $200 million loss this year. The insurer had already pulled out of several states after losing about $450 million in 2016.

The exchanges are a pillar of the federal law because they allow millions of people to buy coverage with help from income-based tax credits. But insurers like Humana, and now Aetna, have been fleeing that market. Others like the Blue Cross-Blue Shield carrier Anthem say they are wary of returning without guarantees of at least one key financial support.

Every exchange had at least one insurer offering coverage for 2017, but a growing number were down to only one. Insurance experts expect holes to develop in 2018 with the coverage growing so thin. Customers may be able to find individual insurance coverage off the exchanges, but those marketplaces offer the only way for people to get tax credits to help pay the premium.

About 12 million people bought coverage through the exchanges for this year. Most used tax credits to help buy coverage.

Among the states in trouble for next year is Iowa. Aside from Aetna, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield also said it will leave that state’s individual market after only a year on it. Another insurer, Medica, said earlier this month that its “ability to stay in the Iowa insurance market in any capacity is in question at this point.”

There’s more at the original.

We have previously noted Humana’s decision to withdraw from the laughably-named Affordable Care Act’s exchanges in the sixteen counties around Knoxville, Tennessee, leaving that area with no insurers participating in the ACA exchanges there in 2018. Thanks to some arm-twisting, Blue Cross/Blue Shield stepped in, and stated that it would cover that area on the exchange, an action similar to what the company did in Pinal County, Arizona, after Aetna pulled out of that market.

We’ve said it before: the ACA simply does not work, because it can’t work. The left seem to believe that private corporations exist to provide goods and services, but no, they all exist for one simple purpose: to make money for the owners and shareholders. Providing goods and services is simply the means by which they make money, and if they don’t make money, they will not be interested in providing their products any longer. The ACA makes health insurance companies unprofitable, at least as far as the ACA policies sold on the exchanges.

The American Health Care Act, recently passed by the House of Representatives, attempts to address some of the problems with the ACA, but still shares many of the same problems. Health insurance under the AHCA may be less expensive, but it is probable that more Americans will be unable to obtain health insurance under it.

The ACA is failing, as conservatives always said it would. That the AHCA might be slightly less objectionable doesn’t make it any more workable.

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