ObamaCare co-op in Maryland stops handling ObamaCare business
posted at 10:01 am on December 21, 2016 by Ed Morrissey
Yet another ObamaCare co-op has shut down its operations — and taken $65.5 million in taxpayer subsidies with it. Evergreen Health Cooperative becomes the 18th co-op to shut down, most of which ceased operations over the past twelve months, leaving just five in operation for 2017. Six thousand customers who assumed they had picked their own insurance for next year in the open enrollment period will now have the state exchange automatically assign them an insurance plan, the Free Beacon reports:
Evergreen Health Cooperative Inc. of Maryland announced earlier this month that it is withdrawing from the Affordable Care Act exchanges next year, leaving only five co-ops in operation. The co-op will not offer or renew individual health policies in 2017. …
Earlier this year, Kevin Counihan, a top official for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told lawmakers that the remaining co-ops were on corrective action plans and could not give any assurance that the remaining co-ops would not fail.
Did we say “fail”? That’s not exactly what’s happened to Evergreen. As it turns out, the ObamaCare co-op that got taxpayer startup funding isn’t blinking out of business as the other seventeen did. They’re just dumping the ObamaCare business and going private:
While Evergreen Health will no longer offer plans on the Affordable Care Act exchange market, the company will continue to operate off the exchanges as it converts to a for-profit entity.
Hey, they’re just getting a head start on ObamaCare’s repeal … right?
Let’s recall the purpose of the co-ops in order to appreciate the karmic hilarity of this move. Democrats set up the co-ops as a replacement for the “public option” that they had to remove in order to pass the bill — the government-run plans that were supposed to provide competition against the eeeeeevil insurance companies. The co-ops were supposed to help transition ObamaCare into a single-payer plan by pushing insurers out of the markets by offering impossibly low premiums. It turned out that the co-ops could only survive with massive and ongoing government bailouts, which spoke volumes about Democrats’ assumptions about insurers and the insurance market. When Congress cut off the bailouts, the co-ops began folding like cheap suits.
However, this co-op took ObamaCare federal start-up subsidies to provide the Democrats’ planned path to socialized medicine, and … now wants to transform itself into the very type of insurer that Democrats wanted to destroy. That’s so laughably ironic that it’s almost worth the hijacking of taxpayer dollars to see it. Almost.