It’s almost like someone could have predicted this.
UnitedHealth (UNH), which is weighing an exit from the Obamacare exchanges, reported it lost about $475 million on Obamacare-compliant plans in 2015 and expects to lose more than $500 million this year.
The insurer, the parent company of United Healthcare, ended last year with about 500,000 enrollees in Obamacare exchange plans. It expects that number to grow towards 800,000 during the 2016 open enrollment period, which ends Jan. 31, before dropping again as some members get jobs, stop paying premiums or find insurance elsewhere. (Also in 2015, it had about 150,000 enrollees who signed up outside the exchanges for individual policies that are compliant with Obamacare.)
UnitedHealth, which sat out the first year of Obamacare in 2014, said it is not looking to grow its exchange business. Instead, it has increased prices, eliminated marketing and commissions and withdrawn its top-tier products. In an effort to stem the losses, it is also working more closely with providers and enrollees to manage their illnesses and care.
And yet, there hasn’t been a bill put forth remedying the problems with Obamacare. Have all of our representatives been asleep?
There is no pill.
Health care consume 17 percent of GDP, a figure that steadily rose through presidential administrations of both political parties since the 1980s.
If everyone paid exactly 17 percent of their income on health care, whether through health insurance, deductibles or paying the medical bills directly, a family with a $50,000 income would pay $8,500 per year. If a person can’t afford a policy on the exchange or to pay the penalty for not having insurance, they sure as hell can’t afford to have a doctor actually provide treatment.
The stark fact is the healthy must subsidize the sick or the sick will die. Wake me when we find a humane and politically palatable way to confront that.