Obamacare on the Verge of Collapse in Many Counties

August 25, 2016

When President Obama rejected the idea of a single-payer Federal medical insurance program, and, instead, turned over the drafting of the Obamacare legislation to the big health insurance companies, he couldn't imagine that the system was doomed from the start and might not survive his second term in office. But that is exactly where things stand today. Major health insurance providers, including United Healthcare and Aetna, have pulled out of most of the markets, and, according to a recent study by Kaiser Family Foundation, in five states and in a total of 664 counties around the United States, people will only have one health insurance option. And the Kaiser study was conducted before Aetna made its announcement, pulling out of Obamacare.

Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming are the five states where there will be only one insurance provider available, and North Carolina and Kansas are almost down to just one company. Of the 664 single-insurer counties, 70 percent are in rural America, compounding an already collapsing health care infrastructure in these areas.

When President Obama was making his pitch for Obamacare before Congress, he told lawmakers: “My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition.”

While Tennessee is not even on the list of the states hit hardest by the pullout of big insurance companies from the Obamacare exchanges, the State Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance, Julie Mix McPeak, told the Tennessean recently that “I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse... and that all of our efforts are really focused on making sure we have as many [insurance policy] writers in the areas as possible, knowing that might be one. I'm doing everything I can to prevent a situation where that turns to zero.” Business Insider noted that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, the only statewide insurer, has asked for a whopping 62-percent increase in premiums they can charge in 2017, on top of a 36.3-percent hike already implemented this year. The other two large health insurers in Tennessee, Humana and Cigna, have both requested 40-percent premium hikes for 2017.