During Saturday’s Democratic presidential debate, Hillary Clinton said in regard to Obamacare that “I want to us to be absolutely clear about making sure the insurance companies in the…Exchanges are properly regulated so that we are not being gamed.” Clinton left out the fact, however, that when it comes to those Exchanges, there are several “games” being played—games caused by government regulations, not solved by them.The first game is being played by the American people themselves, on insurance companies. Multiple insurers have reported that many individuals are purchasing coverage, incurring costly treatments, and then dropping their plans upon finishing those treatments. But contra Senator Clinton, these problems were caused by regulations—namely the requirement for insurers to accept all applicants, regardless of pre-existing conditions. The many “special enrollment periods” established by the Administration, periods that allow individuals to enroll or change plans outside of open season, have also contributed to this problem. Moreover, we noted this potential problem as long ago as 2009—meaning this particular “game” was not only predictable, it was in fact predicted.
Senator Clinton may talk about game-playing all she wants, but the only person she’s fooling is herself.
Insurers are playing the second game as they try to receive bailouts from the federal government to cover their massive losses. They did not succeed in overturning an appropriations rider related to Obamacare’s risk corridor program that saved taxpayers approximately $2.5 billion. But insurers did succeed in winning, as one part of an incredibly ill-advised deal on Obamacare taxes, a one-year reprieve in Obamacare’s health insurer tax. That move alone will provide insurers with $12 billion in relief—far more than the sums at issue surrounding the risk corridors.
Of course, Hillary Clinton herself is playing the biggest game of all surrounding Obamacare . In claiming that she would “build on the successes of the law,” she presumes that the law has succeeded in the first place. In reality, the law has only further damaged insurance markets, leaving higher premiums and fewer choices in its wake. Senator Clinton may talk about game-playing all she wants, but the only person she’s fooling is herself.
Chris Jacobs is a Senior Editor at Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @chrisjacobshc.