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2017-05-16 — mauldineconomics.com

Insurers need months to reprogram systems, train staff, and build provider networks. Congress can't dawdle into summer and then unveil something entirely new. If they do, the 2018 rollout will be a catastrophe. So insurers are doing the rational thing. They're either backing out or raising rates to compensate for all the unknown risks they will be taking.

Early signs are ugly: Maryland's top insurer, CareFirst Blue Cross, has requested an average 50% rate increase for 2018; In Virginia, Anthem Blue Cross is asking for 37.7% higher rates; Aetna said it will be pulling out of all Obamacare exchanges nationwide, [and] Iowa is down to only one carrier, Medica, which only covers a few counties.

...

[Due to its structure,] Obamacare won't explode or collapse, even if Congress does nothing. That's because most of the beneficiaries will still be heavily subsidized under current law. They won't care what the price is... Bottom line: In 2018 Obamacare will still exist, but only as taxpayer-provided indigent care. The program's heart and soul--the grand vision of "Affordable Health Care" for every American--will be gone.

... The losers will be in the middle: Working-age people who make too much to get Obamacare subsidies, but not enough to do without insurance.

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