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Vermont Continues to Struggle With Obamacare

Vermont Continues to Struggle With Obamacare

“The greatest disappointment of my political life.”

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.


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Magic thinking is SUPPOSED to work.

Like Linus and The Great Pumpkin, you just have to have adequate sincerity, and then…MAGIC!

But you can never have enough sincerity…or enough anything…to make socialism work. Well, it wont’ work to do anything it’s SUPPOSED to do, but it WILL screw up entire economies, kill LOTS of people, and stunt countless lives in the process of inevitable failure. At THAT it has been a blazing success…

Ed Morrissey of Hot Air has a few thoughts about that:

“The government takeover of the markets was too pronounced, too obvious, to leave government with any credibility in the event of its failure.”

Guy guys GUYS, wake up—the government doesn’t need “credibility”. A private firm needs credibility, because it has competition. Blue Cross/Blue Shield needs credibility. Sears, Roebuck needs credibility. Government Motors needs credibility. Government does not. We’re stuck with government and its “services”, whether government is credible or not.

When government fails, it doesn’t go out of business; it remains in place, and continues to fail, generally failing even more spectacularly (and expensively) as time progresses. When it can’t attract customers, it simply requires them, by law. Good (or even adequate) performance is optional. When you’re a government, there’s no penalty for failure; you persist, and continue to degenerate. Ideally, you can even get bonuses for making things worse, as witness the shenanigans in the VA hospital system.

The ultimate development of “single payer” will be—must be—a horrible disaster. “Single payer” means, among other things, that there are no other payers. Thus, when the single payer’s performance falls short of requirements, the patients are screwed; they have nowhere else to go. They can’t flock en masse to the competition, because there isn’t any.

    Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | June 6, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Ah, you forget that there are always “gray” and “black” markets when there is a demand OUTSIDE the accepted chutes the Collective would drive us down. And there ALWAYS is!

    I have no intention of letting some moron in DC, Austin, or any-damn-where control my access to health care. And I won’t.

And remember, Mussolini never actually got the trains to run on time. He just instructed the state run MEDIA to say it was so.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | June 8, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Isn’t that suppose to be spelt “Obama-Scar?”

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | June 8, 2015 at 3:02 pm

Mr. Shumlin – Democrat, you got lots more, way more disappointments coming! SOON!