Mark Bertolini, CEO of health insurance giant, Aetna, told the Wall Street Journal that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is in a “Death Spiral”, adding injury to the ACA’s skyrocketing costs. The statement came after Aetna had scaled back its participation in the ACA healthcare exchanges in 2016 because of the $400 Million loss the company has sustained because of the law. Bertolini’s statement came on the shirt tails of a Humana, another major health insurance carrier, announcement to withdraw from ACA Exchanges. Humana cited an imbalance in the risk pool with not enough healthy people signing up to offset the losses. Another major carrier, United Healthcare, withdrew from most ACA Exchanges last year. The exit of these major players will only quicken the demise of the law.
In addition to the insurance carrier woes, the ACA’s soaring Premiums are another huge increase to a mountainous National Debt, approaching $20,100,000,000,000 ($20.1 Trillion). No one seems to be talking about this debt increase, the proverbial elephant in the room.
This time last year, there were 9.4 Million people receiving Premium subsidies through ACA exchanges, according to healthinsurance.org. With 85% of enrollees receiving a subsidy and 2.1 million new people in 2017, there will be approximately 11,185,000 people getting a healthcare subsidy. The average subsidy is now $291 per month, although 77% of enrollees are paying less than $100 per month for healthcare premiums, which average $800-$1200 per month. The ACA will cost the U.S. Government over $600 billion this year in direct subsidies to people under the age of 65.
As a whole, the Affordable Care Act will see a 22% jump in Premiums in 2017, according to the non-partisan, Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The total cost for the ACA in 2016 reached a lofty $110,000,000,000, as in billion. If the law survives, the CBO estimates the ACA costs to reach $1.34 trillion over the next decade.
Our family, like everyone else’s, has been affected by the Affordable Care Act. The ability to receive care for pre-existing conditions has helped millions get treatment, previously unaffordable. As the current Trump administration decides what to Repeal & Replace, many Americans sit and contemplate their healthcare options.
Our system is irrevocably broken and the ACA did not address or fix the problem. As long as there is a middle man in our healthcare system, which is the systemic cause of the elephant in the room, healthcare costs will continue to skyrocket right into the stratosphere, out of sight.