I’ve got a double for you this time, but only because I’d missed one story from last week while I was busy with my own health care needs: Having two ingrown big toenails cut down and ablated. The Vicodin was fun. The eucalyptus & spearmint epsom salt soaks were pleasant. The rest was neither fun nor pleasant — much like what ObamaCare nonprofits and co-ops are enduring.
Another Obamacare co-op, Connecticut’s HealthyCT, is closing its doors, and at least two most could follow suit as the nonprofit insurers decide whether they will be able to remain on firm financial footing.
The nine remaining co-ops of the original 23 co-ops must make payments totaling at least $130 million through Obamacare’s risk adjustment program, which could damage their viability.
You may remember my post from last month about an ObamaCare nonprofit in Maryland which found itself in a similar predicament:
A nonprofit health insurer in Maryland is suing the federal government to avoid more than $22 million in fees under an ObamaCare program that the group calls “dangerously flawed.”
The first-of-its-kind lawsuit targets the Obama administration’s strategy for protecting health insurers from losses in the new marketplace.
In a lawsuit filed Monday, Evergreen Health Cooperative Inc. warned the program could “threaten the viability of the entire Affordable Care Act” if it is not fundamentally altered.
The schadenfreude was deep in that one, because the found of Evergreen Health is a proponent of single payer. What he failed to understand is that under socialized insurance, the payer is whoever has the money — and the little guy always loses to the big guy with pull in Washington. It’s a hard lesson, and one I’m sure Evergreen founder & CEO Peter Beilenson will never learn.
My point here though is that what is happening to the statewide ObamaCare co-ops across the nation is the same thing that happened to Beilenson’s little nonprofit. They were making too much money, which under ObamaCare is punishable by being forced to turn your money over to less efficient competitors.
If the co-ops want to stay in business, they’re going to have to do a much worse job of it, as you’ll see in yesterday’s report from Illinois:
Illinois moved Tuesday to take control of Land of Lincoln Health to begin an orderly shutdown of the insurance company, meaning about 49,000 people will lose their health coverage in the coming months.
The state said it will allow policyholders to buy coverage from a different insurer before their Land of Lincoln plans are terminated, but it’s unclear when the policies will lapse.
“It’s a bad day for the marketplace in Illinois and our consumers,” said Jason Montrie, president and interim CEO of Chicago-based Land of Lincoln. “This is the end.”
What happened to Land of Lincoln Health? Why, the little company that could is now “required to pay $31.8 million to other insurers under a complex formula in the Affordable Care Act, which aims to keep premiums stable by balancing risks among insurers”
“Balancing risk” — ha! That’s a nice way of saying “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Which is a nice way of saying, “Big Insurance gets to rob co-ops because that’s where the money is.” And if 49,000 people lose their insurance (again), well, you can’t make public option omelet without breaking a few skulls.
In Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, such anticompetitive, crony capitalist systems were called things like the “Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule,” and “The Equalization of Opportunity Bill.” But the result was the same: Reward the connected at the expense of the unconnected, dressed up in altruistic language about “protecting consumers” and “standing up for the little guy.”
Atlas Shrugged was supposed to serve as a prophetic warning rather than as a how-to for budding young statists — but in this Age of Obama I suppose it has turned out to be both.