Brace Yourself, Bridget: 'Single-Payer' Health Care Is On Its Way

If you haven't figured out by now that Obamacare -- aka, the Patient Deflection and Unaffordable "Care" Act -- was designed to fail from the start, you haven't been paying attention. "Insurance" that wasn't really insurance, an ever-spiraling cost structure, the destruction of private (i.e. real) insurance, and the creation of yet more dependents on the federal government -- these were the real goals of Obamacare when it was rammed through Congress in the dead of night at Christmas, 2009. And now, voila!

Enrollment in the insurance exchanges for President Obama’s signature health-care law is at less than half the initial forecast, pushing several major insurance companies to stop offering health plans in certain markets because of significant financial losses.

As a result, the administration’s promise of a menu of health-plan choices has been replaced by a grim, though preliminary, forecast: Next year, more than 1 in 4 counties are at risk of having a single insurer on its exchange, said Cynthia Cox, who studies health reform for the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Debate over how perilous the predicament is for the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, is nearly as partisan as the divide over the law itself. But at the root of the problem is this: The success of the law depends fundamentally on the exchanges being profitable for insurers — and that requires more people to sign up.

But only an idiot would willingly sign up for this farrago -- or a citizen with an IRS gun pointed at his head. Of all the evils perpetrated by this wretched but not quite finished administration, ObamaCare is the worst. It has ruined the insurance industry, beggared the public, provided next to nothing, corrupted the Supreme Court and generally booted us all down the road to serfdom.

Oh, and by the way -- you can't keep your doctor! Suckers!!

There's a growing realization that we've all been had, but it's probably too little, too late:

Up to 2.1 million people will likely have to change plans for 2017 due to insurers leaving states'Affordable Care Act marketplaces, up from more than 1.2 million who had to find new insurers last year. That doesn't include the millions who bought new plans because they found a better deal.

The new estimates, from data expert Charles Gaba of ACASignups.net, come as another analysis shows five states are expected to have just one company selling insurance on the 2017 Obamacare exchanges. Consumers in most counties in nine other states won't find any competition for their exchange business either, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

These latest assessments show how leery insurers are of the costs and rules associated with selling on the ACA exchanges — the centerpiece of the health law — and the risks this reticence present to their future. Insurers including Aetna,UnitedHealthcare and many smaller insurers and cooperatives have either decided to leave states and counties or have failed. Julie McPeak, who was appointed insurance commissioner by the Republican governor, told The Tennessean that the ACA marketplace for the state was "very near collapse."

The turmoil is putting intense pressure on federal regulators to stabilize the system, lower costs for consumers and reduce risks for insurers — often conflicting challenges that create a Catch-22. Insurers need healthy people to buy insurance to offset the companies' costs of covering sicker ones, but healthy consumers who don't qualify for high subsidies won't sign up unless the prices are more affordable, says Paul Howard, director of health policy at the free market Manhattan Institute.