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Is Hillary Clinton Proposing A Back Door To Single Payer?

- October 21, 2015

Hillary Clinton Is Proposing To Combat Health Insurance Company Mergers

Earlier Today, Clinton Said She Had "Serious Concerns" Over Health Insurer Mergers. "Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has 'serious concerns' about health insurer Aetna's plan to acquire Humana and Anthem's proposal to buy Cigna, saying the multi-billion-dollar deals should be closely reviewed by U.S. regulators. A $37 billion plan for Aetna Inc to acquire smaller rival Humana Inc approved by the shareholders of both companies this week would make Aetna the largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly." (Amanda Becker, "Clinton Has 'Serious Concerns' About Aetna-Humana, Anthem-Cigna Mergers," Reuters , 10/21/15)

  • "Clinton Said She Was 'Very Skeptical' The Mergers Would Be Good For Consumers." (Amanda Becker, "Clinton Has 'Serious Concerns' About Aetna-Humana, Anthem-Cigna Mergers," Reuters , 10/21/15)

But Insurance Companies Are Being Forced To Merge Or Face Losses Under ObamaCare

ObamaCare Created A "Ripple Effect" Among Insurers. "The deal is a ripple effect of the Affordable Care Act, which changed how insurance companies make money." (Carolyn Johnson, "Anthem Announces It Will Buy Cigna," The Washington Post, 7/25/15)

ObamaCare's Provisions That Cap Profits And Require Insurers To Cut Costs Have Led To An Increase In Mergers. "Analysts say that because of new caps on the profit that insurers can make on their plans, the companies have been looking to cut administrative costs by increasing their scale." (Carolyn Johnson, "Anthem Announces It Will Buy Cigna," The Washington Post, 7/25/15)

  • ObamaCare's Medical-Loss Ratio Mandate Has Added To Insurer's Financial Burdens. "Another complication is that the act requires insurers to spend 80 percent to 85 percent of premium dollars on medical claims, depending on the plan, according to the Congressional Research Service. That pressures them to get economies of scale on the administrative costs that eat up 16 percent of Anthem's revenue, versus 18 percent at Aetna, helping pressure the companies into making deals." (Tim Mulaney, "ObamaCare Sparks Health Insurance Megamergers," CNBC, 7/6/15)

Insurers Have Struggled To Turn A Profit On The ObamaCare Exchanges. "Many insurers have had trouble initially making money on their Obamacare individual-client business, though the expansion of Medicaid has been a boon to all of the Big Five. The individual health insurance and government-backed insurance markets in general are less profitable than privately sponsored group plans." (Tim Mulaney, "ObamaCare Sparks Health Insurance Megamergers," CNBC, 7/6/15)

  • ObamaCare-Fueled Health Mergers Are Necessary For Insurers To Be Profitable In The Years Ahead. "Analysts say the deals are about making insurers big enough to compete profitably on the online health insurance exchanges set up under the ACA by Obamacare. Insurers had to base their prices for the 2013-14 open enrollment period for policies sold on Obamacare's state and federal exchanges based on very little information about what claims previously uninsured clients might file. Even 2014-15 prices, which rose only about 2 percent, were based on limited first-year claims data, said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation." (Tim Mulaney, "ObamaCare Sparks Health Insurance Megamergers," CNBC, 7/6/15)

Leading Democrats Lament Over Their Failure To Enact Single Payer And Have Said ObamaCare Is A Stepping Stone

In August 2013, Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) Acknowledged That ObamaCare Is A Step To A Single-Payer System. " But already, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is predicting those plans, and the whole system of distributing them, will eventually be moot. Reid said he thinks the country has to 'work our way past' insurance-based health care during a Friday night appearance on Vegas PBS' program 'Nevada Week in Review.' 'What we've done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we're far from having something that's going to work forever,' Reid said. When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: 'Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.'" (Karoun Demirjian, "Reid Says ObamaCare Just A Step Toward Eventual Single-Payer System," Las Vegas Sun, 8/10/13)

Then-Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), An ObamaCare Coauthor Said That Congress Should Have Enacted Single Payer Or A Public Option Instead Of ObamaCare. "Harkin says in retrospect the Democratic-controlled Senate and House should have enacted a single-payer healthcare system or a public option to give the uninsured access to government-run health plans that compete with private insurance companies. 'We had the votes in '09. We had a huge majority in the House, we had 60 votes in the Senate,' he said." (Alexander Bolton, "Harkin: Democrats Shouldn't Have Settled For ObamaCare," The Hill, 12/3/14)

  • Harkin: "Single-Payer Right From The Get Go Or At Least Put A Public Option Would Have Simplified A Lot. We Had The Votes To Do That And We Blew It." "He believes Congress should have enacted 'single-payer right from the get go or at least put a public option would have simplified a lot.' 'We had the votes to do that and we blew it,' he said." (Alexander Bolton, "Harkin: Democrats Shouldn't Have Settled For ObamaCare," The Hill, 12/3/14)

OBAMACARE'S SINGLE-PAYER PET PROJECT HAS YIELDED DISASTROUS RESULTS, CREATING UNCERTAINTY FOR HEALTH CARE CONSUMERS WHILE DELIVERING A LOSS TO TAXPAYERS

ObamaCare's Health Co-Ops Are "Collapsing" At A "Rapid Clip." "Health cooperatives are collapsing at such a rapid clip that some co-ops and small insurers are forming a coalition to consider legal action to try to change health-law provisions they blame for their financial distress." (Stephanie Armour, "More Health Co-Ops Face Collapse," The Wall Street Journal, 10/16/15)

  • Co-Ops "Were A Compromise" With Single-Payer Advocates To Garner The Votes To Pass ObamaCare In Congress. "When the ACA was enacted in 2010, the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans were a compromise to appease congressional liberals who had wanted a new public insurance program for Americans unable to get health benefits at work." (Amy Goldstein, "Financial Health Shaky At Many ObamaCare Insurance Co-Ops," The Washington Post , 10/10/15)

Co-Ops In Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, Nevada, Tennessee And Oregon Have Folded. "However, eight of these co-ops -- in Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, Nevada, Tennessee and Oregon -- have announced this year that they are closing, and many of the remaining co-ops are losing money, too." (Editorial, "A New Attack On Health Care Reform," The New York Times, 10/20/15)

  • 11 Additional Co-Ops Were Recently Notified By The Centers Of Medicare And Medicaid Services That They Are On "Enhanced Oversight." "The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees the health-care law, recently sent warning letters to 11 of the 'co-ops,' as they're known. The agency placed them on 'enhanced oversight' or required them to produce a plan of 'corrective action,' or both, according to federal figures not previously made public. Several have been notified in the past two weeks." (Amy Goldstein, "Financial Health Shaky At Many ObamaCare Insurance Co-Ops," The Washington Post , 10/10/15)

With The Fall Of Eight ObamaCare Co-Ops, 500,000 ObamaCare Consumers Must Now Switch Health Care Providers Or Go Without Coverage. "So far, more than 500,000 customers have lost their co-op coverage, and co-op officials said their demise will hurt competition, leading to higher prices for consumers." (Stephanie Armour, "More Health Co-Ops Face Collapse," The Wall Street Journal, 10/16/15)

The Eight Failed "Co-Ops Have Received Nearly $900 Million In Federal Funds." "Colorado's co-op and one in Oregon announced Friday that they were folding, joining six others that have already collapsed or said they will unwind operations. The eight co-ops have received nearly $900 million in federal funds that may not be paid back." (Stephanie Armour, "More Health Co-Ops Face Collapse," The Wall Street Journal, 10/16/15)

  • "$2.4 Billion Was Given In Low-Interest Loans To 23 Co-Ops." "Co-ops were an experiment under the health law to infuse competition, lower prices, and insurance markets with a variety of choices for consumers. A total of about $2.4 billion was given in low-interest loans to 23 co-ops." (Stephanie Armour, "More Health Co-Ops Face Collapse," The Wall Street Journal, 10/16/15)

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