Economy, Regs, & Taxes

Government Is Always the Biggest Fish

As the big insurance companies seek mergers, the public option looms.

Paul Albaugh · Aug. 2, 2016

Before ObamaCare became law, we were told that most infamous of lies: “If you like your plan/doctor, you can keep your plan/doctor.” With less than six months left of Barack Obama’s presidency, Americans are about to be subjected to another round of fallout from one of the most damaging economic decisions in our nation’s history.

This time, ObamaCare’s negative impact on the economy has to do with a shortage of private health insurance companies willing to participate in the ObamaCare exchange market. The five largest private health insurance companies in America are UnitedHealth, Cigna, Aetna, Anthem and Humana. Back in April, UnitedHealth announced that it was dropping out of most of the exchanges, leaving the other big four.

Or, perhaps there will only be two.

That’s right, last week, Anthem announced that it was planning to expand its ObamaCare offerings to nine additional states, contingent upon a successful merger with Cigna. And Cigna has offered to expand into a few other states as well.

Meanwhile, Aetna announced that it was going to merge with Humana. Except not so fast — at least if Obama’s Justice Department has any say. Justice announced that it was filing suit to block the two mergers. Shortly after that announcement, Humana made its own statement. The private insurer will now be pulling out of almost all of its ObamaCare exchange business. The company will go from offering plans in 1,351 counties this year to only 156 counties next year.

Update: The Chicago Tribune reports that Aetna “called off a planned expansion Tuesday and suggested it could abandon that market completely.”

We are just thankful that Obama didn’t lie about being able to keep your insurance company.

Haha — just kidding. Obama did declare that his signature health care law would improve competition in the individual insurance market. But with many private insurers pulling out of the marketplace and with two of the largest insurance providers trying to merge with two other large insurance providers, we are left with — drumroll please — less competition. And that will inevitably mean higher prices for consumers, as there will be fewer competitors to drive the price down.

ObamaCare is a modern example of a failed plan by the central planners about whom economist F.A. Hayek warned. But is it a failed plan, or was the plan designed to fail in the first place? In other words, is ObamaCare and all of its failures simply a means to an end?

The answer can be heard from recent comments from Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Recently, Obama commented that his health care law didn’t go far enough and that we need a public option. Clinton has echoed the same sentiments and hopes that the torch will be passed to her so she can carry it out.

These two liars tell us that a public option is needed so that there can be more choice in the marketplace and so the public option can compete with private insurers for expanded coverage. Essentially, their fix for the failings of ObamaCare is for more government intervention, more government intrusion and fewer options so that the private insurance companies are forced out altogether. How so? Because if a public option is put in place by the government, those companies — perhaps no matter how big — won’t be able to compete with what is being sold as “free.”

This will ultimately lead to a single-payer health care system, which has been the intent of these far-left statists all along. Karl Marx would be proud, as would Saul Alinsky. Meanwhile, health care will take up an even larger portion of America’s economy, it will become more costly overall and the quality of care will plummet even further. Stronger together? Not even close.

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