from The Wall Street Journal, How Democrats Learned to Love Insurance Companies by Ellysia Finley (paywall)
The cost for the most popular ObamaCare silver plans will increase 37% on average next year. Democrats and insurers are both blaming soaring premiums on the Trump administration, which is purportedly trying to sabotage the law. They complain that loosening the individual mandate and slashing ObamaCare’s advertising budget reduces enrollment among the healthy youngsters who keep premiums in check. They say the White House’s move to end cost-sharing payments to insurers will drive up premiums and repel “young invincibles.”
These arguments are dubious, not least because premiums were rising even before Mr. Trump took office. Since 2013, the average premium on the ObamaCare exchanges has doubled. The real ObamaCare saboteurs were the Democrats who designed and passed such a haphazard law.
Democrats and insurers argue Washington should spend more on marketing ObamaCare to young people. But Texas, which spent little on marketing, has a younger risk pool on the exchanges than California, which spent heavily. One real difference is that Texas didn’t expand Medicaid, and California did. Advertising alone won’t impel people to buy an over-priced product they don’t want.
The article explains how the design of the ACA pulled the young from the risk pool and thus dramatically increased the insurance costs on individual plans.
1. Allowing kids to stay on their parents coverage up to age 26 removed 2.3 million of the young.
2. The young who got on cheaper employer plans with enough employees to be allowed to circumvent requirements on ACA mandated individual plans.
3. “Young people are also flocking to Medicaid, bringing states billions more in federal cash while depriving private insurers of healthy customers.”
The partisan haphazard way such a broad complicated system was designed and implemented was always likely to fail. They managed to take a deeply flawed system and make it worse. The violated the first rule of health care.