It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
The Affordable Care Act was going to bring about the golden age of single payer healthcare in the Green Mountain State. Instead, it went there to die. Activists protested during the new governor’s inauguration, but it made no difference.
Now, things are getting worse. Abby Goodnough of the New York Times:
In Vermont, Frustrations Mount Over Affordable Care Act
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Just a few years ago, lawmakers in this left-leaning state viewed President Obama’s Affordable Care Act as little more than a pit stop on the road to a far more ambitious goal: single-payer, universal health care for all residents.
Then things unraveled. The online insurance marketplace that Vermont built to enroll people in private coverage under the law had extensive technical failures. The problems soured public and legislative enthusiasm for sweeping health care changes just as Gov. Peter Shumlin needed to build support for his complex single-payer plan. Finally, Mr. Shumlin, a Democrat, shelved the plan in December, citing the high cost to taxpayers. He called the decision “the greatest disappointment of my political life.”…
Despite an eventual cost of up to $200 million in federal funds, its online marketplace, or exchange, is still not fully functional, while disgust with the system is running deep among residents and lawmakers alike.
Meanwhile, the hopes for a single-payer system, once tantalizingly close, may be lost for years. Under such a system, the government operates one health insurance plan for all residents, covering their medical costs instead of having private insurers do it.
“It’s just been a spectacular crash, really,” said State Representative Chris Pearson, a member of Vermont’s Progressive Party. “We’ve gone from this vision of being the first state to achieve universal health care, to limping along and struggling to comply with the Affordable Care Act.”
Some people contend that Obamacare’s failure is a feature, not a bug. That the eventual collapse of Obamacare was intended to lead to single payer. Ed Morrissey of Hot Air has a few thoughts about that:
This was always the flaw in the supposed Trojan-horse theory of ObamaCare. The government takeover of the markets was too pronounced, too obvious, to leave government with any credibility in the event of its failure. Most opponents thought that the failure would come within a few years as the result of its impossible financial model. Few would have predicted that the federal government and the states could have failed so spectacularly on building the exchanges themselves, or that those failures would still be continuing into 2015.
Of course, the most painful chapter in this story is yet to come. In a recent report at the Wall Street Journal, Louise Radnofsky suggested that health insurance premiums in some states could rise by as much as 51% in 2016:
Health Insurers Seek Hefty Rate Boosts
Major insurers in some states are proposing hefty rate boosts for plans sold under the federal health law, setting the stage for an intense debate this summer over the law’s impact.
In New Mexico, market leader Health Care Service Corp. is asking for an average jump of 51.6% in premiums for 2016. The biggest insurer in Tennessee, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has requested an average 36.3% increase. In Maryland, market leader CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield wants to raise rates 30.4% across its products. Moda Health, the largest insurer on the Oregon health exchange, seeks an average boost of around 25%.
All of them cite high medical costs incurred by people newly enrolled under the Affordable Care Act.
If only someone had warned us about all of this.DONATE
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