September 7, 2016

Obamacare Is Running Out Of Options

  • As Obamacare continues to unravel, Americans across the country have fewer options – and many will have no choice at all.
  • This fall, people living in one-third of the country will have only one option on their Obamacare exchange.
  • Premiums will be significantly higher in 2017 than they were in 2016.

This summer, Obamacare’s death spiral accelerated, with insurers fleeing the exchanges, states approving huge rate hikes, and Americans reporting that they are less healthy since Obamacare began. In a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey, two-thirds of respondents said the future of Medicare and access to affordable care are top health care issues that candidates should address.


From the start, the administration has tried to brand its insurance exchanges as “marketplaces.” The trick was to make people think they’re getting competition and choice. This certainly won’t be true for 2017, as insurers flee Obamacare and leave Americans with fewer options. 

Projected number of exchange insurers in 2017

Exchange insurers 2017

When President Obama was trying to sell Obamacare in 2009, he complained: “In 34 states, 75 percent of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies … And without competition, the price of insurance goes up and quality goes down.” Obamacare has made this situation much worse. This fall, 31 percent of counties across the country – and 2.3 million people who currently have Obamacare – are likely to have just one insurer on their exchange. When there’s only one option, that’s not a marketplace, it’s a monopoly. Another 31 percent of counties will have only two options, which means the majority of U.S. counties will have two options or fewer this fall.

In Pinal County, Arizona, there will not be a single insurance company selling plans on the exchange – it has become an Obamacare ghost town. Even when the health care law has left people with no options, Democrats still want people to pay a fine to the IRS for failing to get coverage. This Catch-22 shows how unsustainable Obamacare is and how delusional Democrats have become in trying to defend it.

“Could the last one out please shut off Obamacare?” New Hampshire Union Leader, 08-18-2016

The sharp drop in the number of plans is due to insurers finding that the law’s over-regulated markets are unworkable. Large insurers UnitedHealth, Humana, and Aetna said that they will stop offering exchange plans across the country. Anthem is reevaluating its exchange participation.


Americans probably thought health insurance couldn’t get any more expensive, but this fall many will find that it has. In 14 states that have approved premiums so far, the price hikes average 26.4 percent. President Obama and bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services are telling Americans not to worry, that they just need to shop around; or that they’ll receive subsidies to make up the difference. These defenses don’t hold up.

  • Last week, the New York Times reported that even “savvy shoppers” will face rising premiums. For most people, there simply are no bargains to be found.
  • Ninety-seven percent of Americans do not receive Obamacare subsidies. They will bear the full weight of the higher prices caused by the health care law.
  • Taxpayers pay for subsidies. As subsidies increase, so do taxes. As Senator Alexander said in a recent GOP weekly address, “If you the policyholder don’t pay all of [the premium increase], then you the taxpayer will, because a large portion of Obamacare premiums are subsidized with tax dollars.”


It’s official, you can no longer keep your doctor. When Democrats were selling Obamacare, they promised that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” It’s been clear for some time that this was not true, and now even the Obama administration acknowledges it. The administration has erased from any reference to “keeping your doctor.” The link on the web page that used to say, “How to keep your doctor” now lists insurance plan types. airbrushing history scrubbed


The Congressional Budget Office predicted that 24 million people would buy health coverage through the exchanges this year. Less than half that number – just 11 million people – were enrolled at the end of March.

Washington Post quote

Even the law’s requirement that people buy health insurance – and an average IRS tax penalty of $969 this year – has not been enough to convince most Americans that Obamacare plans are a good value. The White House thinks Obamacare is an “upgrade,” but Americans know better.


This summer, Obamacare co-ops failed in Illinois, Oregon, and Connecticut, meaning 16 of the original 23 co-ops have collapsed – and Maine’s co-op withdrew from New Hampshire. When a co-op fails in the middle of the year, patients must find new plans, often with new doctors. In many cases their out-of-pocket costs will increase since they have to start from scratch trying to meet their deductibles.

Failed Obamacare co-ops


In a new Gallup poll, Americans report worse overall health this year than they did before Obamacare. In 2008, 22.6 percent of Americans reported having “excellent” health. This year, only 19 percent of adults said they are in excellent health. Obamacare was supposed to improve “access to health care” in America. Instead, the law focused exclusively on coverage at the expense of care. 


With each passing week, more Americans realize just how bad Obamacare is. This summer, in an unusual guest article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, even President Obama admitted the law has fallen short. While he spent the bulk of the piece praising his own efforts, the president made a rare acknowledgement of some of the law’s failures. 

“… too many Americans still strain to pay for their physician visits and prescriptions, cover their deductibles, or pay their monthly insurance bills; struggle to navigate a complex, sometimes bewildering system; and remain uninsured.” – President Obama, JAMA, 08-02-2016

What solutions do President Obama and congressional Democrats propose? More spending, more taxes, and more government. Despite the collapse of the taxpayer-financed co-ops and the dwindling competition caused by the health care law, President Obama and Secretary Clinton have proposed moving to a “public option.” This would put the federal government in the business of selling health insurance and would drive more insurance companies to abandon the exchanges, leaving more Americans with no choice.

Republicans have real solutions that center on freedom, flexibility, and choice. Solutions that actually work. The Republican plan will empower patients to make decisions about their health care by giving people tools, information, and options. It will give states the flexibility to help families find affordable coverage that actually delivers excellent care. It will provide practical consumer protections to help people who have pre-existing conditions. It will save and strengthen the Medicare program. It will reform our broken Medicaid system by giving states more flexibility to provide the best coverage for their citizens. And it will put patients – not Washington – first.

Issue Tag: Health Care