Thursday, August 18, 2016

Who Are You Going to Believe:  Insurance Actuaries of ObamaCare  Visionaries?
Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?
Groucho Marx (1895-1977)
Following the lead of other major health insurers, Aetna has withdrawn from 536 of 778 ObamaCare health exchange markets.     This abrupt withdrawal reminds me of a Groucho Marx story.
When his wife caught him in bed with another woman, Groucho denied any wrong doing.  He asked his wife,”Who are going to believe me or your lying eyes?

In my blog title, I use the word “betrayal” because President Obama promised consumers they could keep their plans, doctors,  hospitals,  while keeping their premiums low.   Instead, of course, consumers have found few of these promises apply to them.   The old phrase “finders keepers” apparently does not apply to ObamaCare.
In the case of health insurance,  health actuaries are the “lying eyes,” and “me” is the government who is telling them what they are experiencing isn’t reality.   Actuaries are financial experts hire to calculate  the “actual “ reality-based risks.    The government policy people are promissory visionaries of what they think might happen.
Who to Believe?

Who are you going to believe  independent actuaries  calculating risk who are predicting insurers must increase premiums by an average of 18% to 23% across multiple markets or government officials, who are saying don’t believe your eyes, things will get better.  

Doug Badger and Marilyn Travenenar, former CMS and government officials,  now working on the anti-Obama side of the ledger say CMS is “cooking the books” to hide heavy losses and to present a falsely-positive view of the future  ( “Adjusting ObamaCare Reality,” National Review Online,  August 16. 2016). Travenner notes,  “Insurers,  unlike government spin doctors, understand  that, while one can adjust the numbers,  one cannot adjust reality.  For insurers to participate in ObamaCare – as well as consumers and taxpayers, who bear the brunt of the law’s costs and dislocations, the reality isn’t good.”

Don’t worry say ObamaCare advocates, we’re from the government and you can trust us. Every comprehensive government program has hiccups (Jeff Spross, “ObamaCare Is Not Doomed “,  August 16,  The Week, and “Editorial Board, “ObamaCare Will Survive,” New York Times, August 18, 2016).
Government and ObamaCare can always print money, incur debt, and stay in business by increasing subsidies,  having taxpayers bail them out, passing a Public Option, and offering Medicare to  everybody over 55,  Never mind that enrollment in exchanges have been flat, at 11 million half of what was predicted,  that there is too much “churn” as enrollment drop out after receiving care, and that exchange polices are not attractive to health people.
Could it be that highly compensated  conservative  actuaries are lousy at math?  Could it be that ObamaCare is simply designed by pie—in-the-sky theorists who have no concept of risk and profit and who dedicated to the proposition that failures will lead to universal care if we only wait long enough to come to our senses?



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