Sunday, August 28, 2016

Obamacare: A Failed Experiment

Obamacare: A Failed Experiment

by Stephen Lendman

Obamacare was designed as a healthcare rationing scheme to benefit drug companies, large hospital chains and insurers - instead of Medicare for all, everyone in, no one left out, everybody treated equally on a level playing field.

Healthcare in America comes at double or more the expense compared to other Western countries, millions excluded from coverage, many millions more with too little because of the high cost, making care they need unaffordable.

Young healthy Americans aren’t enrolling in state insurance exchanges in enough numbers to keep many of them viable. Signups are less than half of forecasted numbers. For everyone joining, two others aren’t.

Health insurance giant Aetna cancelled Obamacare 2017 expansion plans. Expected to lose $300 million in Affordable Care Act coverage this year, it may stop providing coverage altogether.

It currently runs Obamacare plans in 15 states, planned to join another five exchanges. According to its CEO Mark Bertolini, it’s reevaluating its “exchange footprint, as the poor performance of these products warrants such an analysis.”

Other providers are hemorrhaging cash because of rising costs, low exchange enrollments (especially among valued young healthy adults), and failing Obamacare co-ops.

According to Health Policy and Strategy Associates president Robert Laszewski, politicians have “about a year to fix” Obamacare’s problems. 

“The math is simple. These plans can’t continue the way it’s going. And that undermines the coverage that all of these people have gotten.”

The fewer the numbers of enrollees, the worse the coverage for others in exchanges as providers cut costs and offer less. 

Aetna’s losses are happening nationwide. “State after state, we are seeing the same scenario - losses (increasing), deteriorating conditions and carriers not being able to continue in the long run,” Laszewski explained .

Choice is disappearing. In many parts of the country, Obamacare enrollees and new customers have one provider, not several among which to choose what’s best for them at the lowest cost.

Last year, only 2% of eligible customers had only one choice. According to a McKinsey Center for US Health System Reform, 17% will have a single choice next year.

Things are deteriorating, not improving. Many, perhaps most, Obamacare plans resemble Medicaid with a high deductible and large co-pays, a deplorable situation.

With steadily rising costs, healthcare in America, the most fundamental human right along with food, shelter and clothing, is unaffordable for millions, getting too little coverage or none at all - especially for expensive treatments, hospitalizations, and drugs increasing in price exponentially.

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) promotes the only equitable system - state-sponsored single-payer Medicare for all, “letting the delivery of care remain largely in private hands,” with individuals able to choose their own providers.

Coverage should include “all medically necessary services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs,” PNHP explains.

Premiums, co-pays and deductibles would end. So would financial barriers to proper care. Patients “would regain free choice of doctor(s) and hospital(s). Doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.”

Obamacare was designed for profit-making, not putting patient needs first. Replacing it with universal coverage is vitally needed - excluding middlemen insurers increasing costs while providing no care.

A valued doctor, activist friend explained to me “what medicine should be all about - help(ing) a patient live a good and useful life.”

Rationing care by making it unaffordable for millions, along with letting insurers make healthcare decisions, is no way to do it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.