Watercooler 06/24/17 Open Thread: Last Week, RedState - Obamacare Exchanges: The death watch begins!


Welcome to today’s edition of Watercooler: Last Week, RedState.   This WC is all about Posts, Reader’s Diaries, and comments at RedState

Hot Topics Last Week:

This post by Jay Caruso about Weak GOP Leadership Allows Lisa Murkowski To Dismiss Pro-Life Constituency hit a nerve with a few of us.  It’s sad that the right can’t find a way to herd and corral the Gallus Domesticus it finds the party populated with.  On a side note, have you ever tried to herd chickens with a horse?

Then there was this post by Dan Spencer pointing out where Jay Sekulow and a lot of the commenters make the case (again) that President Trump Is Not Under Investigation!  Truly entertaining repartee, that!

There was a lot of discussion surrounding the Senate’s attempt to repeal and replace, sorry, amend Obamacare.  This piece by Josh Kimbrell posits that Federalism is the Fix for Obamacare, and Republicans are Headed in That Direction.  It was worth reading but going back to my comment of herding Gallus Domesticus with a horse, you can rarely trust that the chickens will end up where you expect them to go!

Recurring Topics at RS:

Obamacare Exchanges: The death watch begins!

I figure this is a timely, and recurring, topic that might be useful to look at again.  I suspect that after the rate decisions are made in the 50 states and insurance providers decide to stay in the exchanges, or not, in the next month or two, that after that we’ll be left with just living with Obamacare until the next rate cycle begins next year. So there’s this…

This map on the current state of the Obamacare exchanges, created by the federal government’s U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is telling:


You can see a constantly updated version of this map at Obamacare Exchange Carriers by County.  Notice that something like nine states have only ONE HC Insurance provider and a few more have only one in a majority of the state. Northern Illinois, not including Chicago (?) is interesting as that liberal bastion needs only lose the one remaining insurance provider in order to turn red on the map.  I guess that once Obama left office he couldn’t play shenanigans with the laws of economics and stop the rates from rising!

[Edit: Note this – The following eight states carrier count is rolled up to a state rather than county level (CA, CO, ID, MA, MD, MN, NY, WA).  These 8 states may have more than a few counties with few to no insurance providers.]

Since I originally saw this map more states have joined the ranks of the uncovered, including a majority of Nevada counties that now have no Obamacare exchanges.

Finding reporting on this is fairly easy to find.  There is this from The Hill:

This week, thousands of people in Indiana and Wisconsin were devastated to learn that Anthem would be pulling out of the ObamaCare exchanges in their states. And just weeks ago, people in Ohio were met with the same terrible news, leaving the residents of 20 counties without a single insurance provider.

Indiana and Wisconsin do not have any counties with only one HC provider so it doesn’t appear that any counties will lose insurance coverage based on this announcement but if you click on the 20 counties link you will immediately so what’s going on in Ohio.  The highlights are:

One of Ohio’s major health insurers, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, will not sell policies to individuals and families in the state’s Obamacare marketplace next year. The company cited a shrinking market for Affordable Care Act-related insurance and too much uncertainty over federal regulations, taxes and reimbursements insurers might or might not recoup.

Withdrawal from other states could follow. Anthem’s Ohio decision was announced Tuesday because it followed the Monday state deadline for all insurers to make their intentions clear with rate filings.

Many more state deadlines are approaching, some delayed until this or next month while the insurers waited to find out if the risk corridors would be funded.

With rate-setting season not over yet, expect more insurers to withdraw from the Obamacare market!

And, there’s this from…  NBC News where the prognosis for these one-provider counties and states is looking grim:

Also mitigating the pressure for higher premiums is a one-year moratorium – for 2017 – on a health law tax on insurers, part of last year’s federal budget deal.

Last month, an analysis of medical claims from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association concluded that insurers gained a sicker, more expensive patient population as a result of the law. The “Blues” represent the most common brand of insurance.

Recently UnitedHealth, the nation’s biggest insurer, said it will radically pull back from the health law’s markets, citing estimated losses of $650 million this year, on top of $475 million it lost last year.

Many insurers struggled because they didn’t know how much health care their new customers would use. Some patients had been out of the health care system for years and had been holding off getting needed care. Insurers also say they’ve been hurt by customers who signed up outside the regular enrollment period and then used a lot of health care.

The surprises that are affecting the insurers’ bottom lines are a feature rather than a bug.  I wonder if the general disdain for Ayn Rand have caused the object lessons on the long term affect of crony capitalism in her book Atlas Shrugged to be lost on the HC industry, it is their turn!

Holding the line

Now, if we could just get the GOP to stop providing a backstop to Obamacare’s financial black hole and allow the inevitable economic collapse of these markets, the GOP might just get the conditions necessary to herd and corral the Gallus Domesticus and actually repeal and replace this Obamination!

The only real questions are if:

  1. The GOPe have the nerve to let this slow-motion collapse occur and not provide the financial band-aids that they are so wont to provide, and
  2. Will the collapse happen this year or next year?

Memorable RS One-Liners:

I read the news and I have to think well shame is long dead, but now it looks like even being self-aware is on the ropes.”  Joliphant

RedState Tips:

Never try to herd free-range chickens with a horse, that is,  if you want them to provide the breakfast eggs in the next few days!


Drink up, that’s it for the Watercooler today. Remember, it’s an open thread all about RedState contributors from the front page, Reader’s Diaries, or in the comments section.

Thanks for stopping by, hanging out, and drink up.

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