Our Opinion: Crisis

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says lawmakers in his chamber of Congress are primed to vote on a new national health care law next week. Details of the Senate bill are sketchy, but it clearly will have to be a better version than that approved by the House of Representatives.

Liberals insist action to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — is nothing more than politics. Obamacare is working, they insist. Millions of Americans have good, affordable health insurance because of the law, they add.

Not really. Obamacare is crashing and burning because of the innumerable flaws built into it.

Consider what is happening in Ohio. There, Anthem Inc. has announced it will pull out of health insurance markets in most of the state next year. Anthem’s reasoning is simple: As Obamacare is structured, the company cannot afford to continue offering government-approved health insurance without losing money. Only a commitment to more government payments to offset losses would keep Anthem in the Buckeye State’s individual insurance marketplace.

No one knows how many billions — more likely, tens of billions — of dollars have been funneled to insurance companies by the government, under former President Barack Obama. Much of the subsidy money was paid illegally.

All of it comes from taxpayers, directly or indirectly.

If Anthem goes foward with a pullout, the consequences for Ohioans seeking insurance under the Obamacare individual program will be serious. Anthem is the only firm selling health insurance exchange coverage in all 88 Ohio counties. In 20 of them, it is the only insurer.

About 10,500 Ohioans would be left out in the cold with no insurer, if Anthem follows through, it has been estimated.

Many — not just a few, but many — other states are in similarly threatening situations. Without massive taxpayer subsidies, often paid under the table by the Obama administration, millions of Americans will find their health insurance options curtailed or nonexistant.

Those still able to get insurance will pay much more in many cases. Throughout the country, state insurance regulators are being told of plans for premium increases of 50-60 percent or even higher.

What form repeal and replacement will take is yet to be determined. Clearly, however, members of Congress are right to view the situation as a genuine crisis requiring decisive action soon.


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