As many of you who follow health care issues are probably aware, Forbes Columnist Rick Ungar recently garnered national attention for his argument that the Affordable Care Act MLR rules will lead to the death of the for-profit, bloodsucking, health insurance industry sooner rather than later.
Well, today, he's back with some more evidence, and let's hope he's correct:
Yet, a report issued this week by, of all places, the conservative Galen Institute, reveals that you can’t judge the long-term viability of an industry by its current share price. Indeed, the results of the Galen study highlight that the exodus of insurance companies from the health insurance business may be happening far more quickly than I imagined.
Among the many companies that are dropping out of the business —rather than comply with the MLR requirements that would force them to actually spend an appropriate share of the premium monies received from customers on real health care— are some of the nation’s largest carriers.
Principal Financial Group had already announced late last year that they were leaving the health insurance business, impacting on some 840,000 insured.
Another key player in the business, Cigna, has decided to quit the small business market in states like California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
In Colorado and Michigan, insurance giant Aetna is bailing on both the small business and individual markets.
Wow, it seems like when insurance companies actually have to operate in an ethical manner and do what they say they want to do -- pay for care -- they get mighty upset...so upset that they want to "take their ball and go home." And, for good reason -- look at what Aetna predicts it will have to give back to consumers instead of its shareholders in the one percent:
Indeed, Aetna estimates that, as a result of failing to meet the MLR requirements in 2011, they will be forced to pay out 100 million dollars this year to its customers.
Given a future with fewer bloodsuckers -- or, perhaps, just a bloodsucker monopoly -- Ungar argues it's time to get started planning for the inevitable...non-profit, taxation-financed healthcare:
So, like it or not—as the growing exodus of insurers from the marketplace bears out—government, single-payer coverage is coming.
The only question is whether we will get out in front of the problem that will be created by private insurers bailing or wait, as we often do, for the system to collapse.
If you can manage to check your ideology at the door, the wisdom of getting started with the inevitable should be clear.
Let's help make sure our conservative friends don't miss a doctor's appointment when their beloved friends at Aetna and Cigna abandon them by doing what we all know needs to be done right now -- implementing a Medicare-for-all system.
Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 12:36 PM PT: Many thanks for all of the recs! Sorry for not being able to engage with more comments -- I was spending the day with my parents. I look forward to reading everyone's thoughts right now!