One of the arguments against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is that people are losing options as insurance companies are pulling out. That’s true. Insurance companies are pulling out, but Republicans tell us it’s because the law isn’t viable and that insurance companies are leaving because they aren’t making money. Well, a ruling from a federal judge just blew the lid off of that theory.
The ruling, from Judge John D. Bates, a George W. Bush appointee, was in a case involving Aetna, who has pulled out of all but four of the states where they were part of the exchange. The claim was that they were losing money on the deal. Judge Bates found that that was a lie.
Now a federal judge has ruled that that was a rank falsehood. In fact, says Judge John D. Bates, Aetna made its decision at least partially in response to a federal antitrust lawsuit blocking its proposed $34-billion merger with Humana. Aetna threatened federal officials with the pullout before the lawsuit was filed, and followed through on its threat once it was filed. Bates made the observations in the course of a ruling he issued Monday blocking the merger.
Source: LA Times
That pretty much eliminates one major talking point in the debate surrounding health insurance.
The judge’s conclusions about Aetna’s real reasons for pulling out of Obamacare — as opposed to the rationalization the company made in public — are crucial for the debate over the fate of the Affordable Care Act. That’s because the company’s withdrawal has been exploited by Republicans to justify repealing the act. Just last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) cited Aetna’s action on the “Charlie Rose” show, saying that it proved how shaky the exchanges were.
In fact, the judge ruled, Aetna was profitable in some of the states but pulled out nonetheless just to make a point — a point that risked the lives or at least the health coverage of upwards of 20 million people. Bates believes that Aetna will start selling insurance in at least some of these markets again, so there goes the whole “Obamacare is imploding” idea.
Clearly, not all insurers are lying to Americans. Kaiser Permanente loves the law. They’ve even profited from it. The fact is that if they can do it, there’s no reason other companies can’t. All they have to do is cut back on the greed.
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