Editorial

Obamacare is dealt a blow

Friday, April 22, 2016

UnitedHealthcare, the biggest health insurer in the United States, reported on Tuesday that it plans to exit most of the Affordable Care Act state exchanges by 2017. The decision came after the company posted losses of $475 million last year and projected more losses for the current year.

The Obama administration shrugged off the announcement as insignificant, but this news indicates that the health care plan, widely known as Obamacare, is in serious trouble.

The ACA was ill conceived from the start, an attempt by a liberal administration to placate conservatives by keeping the insurance companies in the process, rather than going to a single-payer plan that would basically expand Medicare to all age levels.

The ACA was Obama's signature achievement, passed during the two-year window when the presidency and both houses of Congress were controlled by Democrats. It was pushed through in a manner that left a bitter feeling among Republicans who had been excluded from the process.

As with any new federal program, there are flaws that need corrected as they become evident. If the Republicans had been brought on board, the flaws could be addressed and the ACA could become like the U.S. Tax Code, inefficient and massively convoluted, but functional.

The ACA is still a bad idea. A single-payer plan is the only way to go if the federal government is going to be involved in providing health insurance beyond those served by Medicare and Medicaid.