The Corner

Politics & Policy

Another Insurer Warns of Obamacare Death Spiral

Any time Republicans say Obamacare is in a death spiral, Democrats accuse them of lying, but we heard the AETNA CEO use this language a couple of months ago and here’s another insurer saying basically the same thing:

The head of the largest insurer in the Mid-Atlantic region warned Thursday that the Affordable Care Act marketplaces were in the early stages of a death spiral, a statement that came as the company announced its request for massive, double-digit premium increases for next year.

Projecting that by year’s end the company will have lost a total of $600 million since it started selling plans in the marketplaces four years ago, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield is requesting a greater than 50 percent rate increase in Maryland, a 35 percent increase in northern Virginia and a 29 percent increase in D.C.

“What we’re seeing is greater sickness levels. The pool of beneficiaries is becoming sicker, in part because healthier people are not coming in at the same level we hoped,” said Chet Burrell, chief executive of CareFirst, which insures about 215,000 people through the marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act in all three states.

Burrell said he was worried that the market was in the early stages of a death spiral, in which sick people who need insurance stay in the pool but healthier people drop out, causing insurers to raise rates — driving even more healthy people out of the market.

“We were hoping for more stability. The factors that I have described to you today lead to instability and to a spiral, and we think we are in the beginning of that,” Burrell said.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

Most Popular

Immigration

The Truth about Separating Kids

The latest furor over Trump immigration policy involves the separation of children from parents at the border. As usual, the outrage obscures more than it illuminates, so it’s worth walking through what’s happening here. For the longest time, illegal immigration was driven by single males from Mexico. ... Read More
Culture

Krauthammer’s Take on Life

Dear Reader (And members of the Remnant everywhere), My plan was to do something new this week: Write a “news”letter in which the number and ratio of consonants to vowels in each word advanced in accordance with the Fibonacci sequence until, like a pointillist painting, seen from afar this “news”letter ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Time Stands by Misleading Cover Photo

Time magazine on Friday defended its decision to feature a photo of a crying toddler who was never separated from her mother on the cover of its July issue detailing family separations at the border. “The June 12 photograph of the 2-year-old Honduran girl became the most visible symbol of the ongoing ... Read More
World

Kim Wins in Singapore

The remarkable truth about the “North Korean nuclear crisis” is that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea -- a tiny, isolated, and impoverished state -- has been almost completely in charge of it since the global drama erupted almost three decades ago. The DPRK has determined both the tempo of events ... Read More
PC Culture

When PC Comes Back to Bite You

Political correctness run amok is a popular topic on the right these days. Indeed, the conservative bookshelf is chock full of best-sellers devoted to the topic. Subject matters vary. One may focus on the hypocrisy of campus speech codes, another on the revisionist attempt to indict our founding fathers, yet ... Read More