Now We Know: ObamaCare’s ‘Guaranteed Issue’ Is Another Big Lie

Investors Business Daily

Health Reform: As Republicans try to figure out how to replace ObamaCare, they are getting viciously attacked by Democrats who claim the GOP plan would take away the law’s guarantee to those with pre-existing conditions. But what use is ObamaCare’s “guarantee” if there aren’t any insurance plans at all?

This week, Anthem (ANTM) announced that it will drop out of the ObamaCare market in Ohio. Since Anthem was the only insurer offering plans in 20 of the state’s counties, this means more than 10,000 people will face the prospect of having no insurance options next year.

This news comes on top of Medica’s announcement that it might exit Iowa’s ObamaCare exchange, after Aetna (AET) and Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield decided to pull out. That would leave more than 70,000 Iowans without any insurance options.

Anthem, meanwhile, is considering whether to drop out of ObamaCare entirely, which would leave hundreds of thousands more nationwide with zero insurance options.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is pulling out of Nebraska, citing $150 million in losses in ObamaCare’s first three years, which will leave one insurer in the state. There have been other defections, and will no doubt be more.

At the same time, insurance companies that are sticking with ObamaCare are putting in for rate hikes that are shocking even by ObamaCare standards. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, for example, is asking for a 48.8% increase.

In Maine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care wants an average 40% increase. In North Carolina, Blue Cross wants a 23% hike and Cigna a 32%. Oregon’s insurers want premium increases of up to 21%. Anthem wants a 38% increase in Virginia and a 34% increase in New Jersey.

On and on it goes.

The result is that while ObamaCare technically guarantees coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, the reality for many is that the ObamaCare plans will either be far too expensive or not available at all, no matter how sick or healthy people are.

So when Democrats talk about Republicans “taking away” this guarantee, remember that ObamaCare’s guarantee isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

This latest round of bad news adds still more urgency to the need to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen had it right when he said, “This is a federally created situation, and we need a federally created solution.”

Democrats and their friends in the news media want to blame Republicans for ObamaCare’s latest sufferings, saying that it’s their talk of repeal that has destabilized these markets.

But that, too, is a big lie.

As we’ve noted in this space before, spiraling premiums and insurance company defections have been endemic to ObamaCare since it became law. They are also precisely what ObamaCare’s critics predicted would happen when the law was being debated in Congress. What’s more, this death spiral is precisely what state governments that experimented with Obamacare-style regulations in the 1990s experienced.

As long as ObamaCare remains in place, insurers would be in the same bind today, and making the same decisions — and that “guarantee” would be just as worthless — no matter who occupied the White House this year.

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