April 21 2016
One News Now
featuring Hadley Heath
UnitedHealth's announcement that it's dropping ObamaCare is making headlines but not everyone is surprised at the news.
"It doesn't come as a surprise that some of them are walking away," observes Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at Independent Women's Forum.
In fact, she says, the health insurance companies "made a deal with the devil" when they gave up control of their industry to the federal government, while hoping to get a lot in return for the deal-making.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. estimates it could lose a half-billion dollars or more on its public exchange business this year alone. As a result, CEO Stephen Hemsley has said the company cannot continue to broadly serve the market created by the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion because of the higher risk that comes with its customers.
UnitedHealth says it will remain in public health insurance exchanges in only a handful of states next year. That's after recently expanding to 34 states.
One of the continuing issues with ObamaCare is that insurance companies are taking on older and or less-healthy Americans while not getting enough younger, healthier Americans to help offset the cost via premiums.
Manning tells OneNewsNow the news is also no surprise since the insurance companies have struggled in that subset of the market.
"And they've been very public about their financial challenges," she says, "setting premiums at the appropriate level considering the law's regulations that they have to accept all patients, all consumers, all members to their insurance plans."
UnitedHealth is not the only insurance company, large or small, to announce financial losses from things linked to ObamaCare. Many co-ops have also collapsed or will not be offering plans for 2017.
According to Manning, consumers are left without any power in this struggle between insurance companies and the government.
"When those two get in bed together, it turns out that consumers are left holding the short end of the stick," she says