The troubles caused by Obamacare in Colorado

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Finding out what’s in it: This excellent article outlines honestly the problems Obamacare is causing for the health insurance business, resulting in one-third increases in premiums in Colorado.

The seeds of RMHP’s current financial strain were sewn in 2014 when all health insurance carriers were required by the Affordable Care Act to sell insurance to anyone, without exception, Salazar said. That brought thousands of sick Coloradans with pre-existing conditions into the new health insurance marketplace. People previously denied insurance could now obtain coverage, she said.

In all, Colorado has added about 600,000 people to the health care system since 2013, including 140,000 people who signed up for individual coverage through Connect for Health, the state’s online health insurance marketplace. At the same time, 450,000 people enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Colorado Trust reported.

Many new enrollees were among the sickest because they failed to seek medical treatment in the past because of a lack of insurance, ErkenBrack said. The ACA prevents insurance carriers from pricing insurance products as traditionally done in the past because it prohibits the exclusion of people with pre-existing conditions, Salazar said. Without the ability to exclude or charge someone more in premiums based on health status, it’s much more difficult for insurance actuaries to establish proper premiums. Accurately anticipating the number of claims and their cost, then setting the right premium, is how insurance companies earn income.

To pay for these sick customers the insurance companies are forced to raise rates. In this case, they need a 34% increase to pay the cost. If they don’t get it, they will lose money and eventually go out of business. And if they do get it, they face ruin anyway because no one can afford these rates.

Thank you Democrats and Obama! Your wisdom in destroying the health insurance industry knows no bounds! It is just what the American people wanted!


  • Steve

    Wasn’t that a feature and not a bug?

    IIRC the backers of Obamacare admitted that their ultimate goal is and was single-payer healthcare and to do that politically they had to pretend at first to back a private insurance based model.

    By intentionally making Obamacare unworkable it would collapse and the people would cry out for the government to step in.

    And because the Republicans are afraid of being called nasty names it looks as though that’s exactly what will end up happening…..

  • Edward

    Looks like the insurance companies, which favored the legislation, were Grubered.

  • Chops

    So, how should the “uninsurable” get health care?

    This is a complex issue that has no easy solutions. The old way didn’t work (remember?) and Obamacare is not working very well.

  • tps

    Grubered. I love it. Our new favorite verb.

  • tps

    With all due respect, this is not a mystery, nor is it all that difficult.

    First, you have high risk pools.

    Second, you get rid of state line monopolies so you get free marketing bidding.

    Third, you allow insurance companies to offer plans that their members actually need, not what the government dictates.

    Fourth, you employ portable HSAs.

    Fifth, you alter the tax codes and credits to make it more affordable for those who need it most.

    In the end, what is left over becomes manageable if dumped into the public coffers.

    There is no perfect solution, but you don’t crash the entire system for those who can’t get viable insurance.

  • Cotour

    You crash the entire system if that is what you are setting out to do from the beginning. After the crash where will everyone be forced to turn? The government.

    That is what is called “fundamental change”.

    Didn’t Gruber lay that all out during the many, many ego fueled seminars he conducted on the issue?

  • Edward

    Chops asked, “So, how should the “uninsurable” get health care?”

    How would the “uninsurable” get healthcare if there were no insurance for anyone?

    Hospitals must provide healthcare to everyone, no matter their insurance status or their ability to pay. The problem is not getting the healthcare; the problem is paying for it. With the high deductibles and high-percentage co-pays after the deductibles (did I forget to mention the very high premium payments?), the problem remains paying for it.

    The “uninsurable” still can’t afford the modern, super-expensive, high-deductible insurance that is now required of everyone. The modern insurance policies are so expensive that even Congress and their aides have to get subsidies in order to afford it. If those high-paid people can’t afford the “affordable” healthcare, what chance do the rest of us have?

    A fundamental concept in personal finance is to save money for a rainy day. Another fundamental concept is to save for your old age.

    Just as with every other aspect of life, if you are unfortunate enough to have an unfortunate event interrupt the happiness of your life, you may have to fall back upon your rainy day savings, and start saving again after the crisis. You may even have to spend your “old age” funds, take out a loan, and sell your house, depending upon the nature of your crisis.

    Personal responsibility. What a concept. With it, who needs a government telling you how to live your life?

    However, a benign government that is attempting to help one-tenth of one percent of the population, who have to file bankruptcy after living through an expensive life-threatening disease (the “old way”), should not also be forcing its citizens to live through other malicious government-created crises.

    A benign government also would not have the audacity to direct its citizens as to how to spend their own money. Indeed, if you live responsibly and have saved enough money, why should you be coerced by the malicious government into purchasing an insurance policy that you don’t need?

    The old way worked far, far better than the new way. In fact, with the fiasco that has been foist upon us, I don’t remember what was wrong with the old way.

  • D.K. Williams

    $60 per month in our town buys concierge care with unlimited doctor visits and a slew of tests included. If you need more expensive tests or a specialist, you gets referrals and discounts. I assume you would have to pay an Obamacare fine, but it might prove cheaper in the long run to use the concierge option. Of course, if you have a catastrophic illness, just sign up for Obamacare at that point.

  • Chops

    This is possibly the direction health care could go. Pay for routine visits and low cost tests out of pocket (while getting a plan group rate on costs – or at least visible costs so you can choose services) while having universal insurance for hospitalization and serious accidents. Not what we had before (at least in the last 50 years) or have now.

  • Max

    So, how should the “uninsurable” get health care?

    The hard truth is, everyone dies.

    Now look at it from the government’s point of view. Keeping people healthy is futile. Taking over the health care is a “means to an end.” Great untapped source of wealth that they can consume out of the marketplace that would’ve been ill spent saving lives. In theory, millions could be spent keeping a person alive. The Obama death panels would never allow such a thing to happen under there guidance. Remember what Obama said about his grandmother. How society would have been better served had she been given a few pills instead of having that hip replacement surgery?
    After the health care providers go bankrupt, government will step in with a solution. It’ll be in the form of a syringe full of morphine for a doctors prescribed compassionate release. (as mandated under Obama care panel consensus mandate for those who exceed hundred thousand dollars in Government provided care or do not have The ability to repay the debt in the future)
    To answer your question “So, how should the “uninsurable” get health care?” They don’t. Government only cares about the society on a whole , not the individual. Most governments feel that the individual should lay down his life for the common good. The healthcare system is no longer provided by doctors, but by politicians …
    For example, what will happen when Obama finds out that we are breathing out carbon dioxide? Will he mandate a one third drop in these emissions as well? After all it’s for the greater good and saving the world…

    Perhaps a new system of care similar to Uber where the doctor comes to your house for a fee. After all, when insurance and hospitals can no longer perform life saving procedures based on care costs, doctors will have to find a way to make money and a new or perhaps old fashion way.

  • Edward


    You have some good points, but I am going to slightly quibble with one of your statements.

    Although some people insist that there aren’t any death panels (there are, and an unlimited number of other panels and commissions may be spawned via this horrid legislation), there *is* a death equation built into the law. The maximum that can be spent on a patient is $26,000 times the actuarial life expectancy of the patient, rather than the fixed $100K amount that you suggested.

    Thus, if the actuarial tables suggest that you have two years to live (although you have been very healthy all your life, except for this one recent problem), and your medical care will cost more than $52,000 (I suspect that is the cost to your health insurer, less your deductible and your copay), then you are deemed to be beyond economical repair.

    As we see, there is a new form of “uninsurable,” in which the insurance company takes your premium, but by previous government permission does not provide the service that premium was intended to pay for. As you noted, Max, Obama was clear that he believed that an elderly person should take some pain pills rather than live a full, comfortable life. Even Robert Reich told students at UC Berkeley that it was OK to let the elderly die in order to save some money.

    Under Obamacare, Chops’ question becomes: “So, how should the ‘elderly’ get health care?”

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