If you thought your doctor bills were getting bigger, you should see the federal government’s! According to a troubling new report, Uncle Sam is deep in debt to the country’s doctors and hospitals, thanks to a collapsed co-op system built into the president’s health care law.
“The co-ops were supposed to be the happy face of health care,” the Washington Times explained, “user-friendly, non-corporate plans offered as a part of the Obamacare’s exchanges, designed to convince consumers skeptical of major insurance companies that there was a real alternative for them in President Obama’s signature health care law.” When Democrats scrapped their plans for a public option in Obamacare, these co-ops were the compromise between government-run health care and a single-payer system. The goal was that they’d be operated as nonprofits, so that consumers would have an alternative to a public entity. To get the co-ops off the ground, the federal government pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the idea — without any gauge of how successful they would be.
Turns out, not very. “Less than a year into operation, the financial condition of many of these co-ops was unstable at best,” Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) stated at this week’s hearing on the co-ops. “As today’s report shows, [Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’] own private consultant, Deloitte, warned that this was the case. Despite this, CMS continued to disburse loans and even awarded additional loans. Since then, 12 have gone out of business…” But this mistake was a particularly costly one — especially for insurance companies, doctor networks, and patients. If the co-ops can’t pay down their debt, someone will have to. “In some states, these losses will be absorbed by other insurance companies — which means, by the policyholders of other insurance companies who have to pay increased… premiums. In other states, doctors, hospitals, and individual patients stand to suffer large out-of-pocket losses due to the co-op failures — as our report details.”
It gets worse… read the rest by Tony Perkins at BarbWire.
Photo credit TheQSpeaks