Aetna bails on most ObamaCare exchanges ... while lauding them

Friends, collectivists, countrymen, lend me your ears, a modern Marc Antony might say if he had ascended to the CEO position at Aetna. We come to praise ObamaCare … and to bury it. The health-insurance giant announced that it would pull out of 11 of 15 ACA exchanges, The Hill’s Peter Sullivan reports, a move that they had signaled for months:

In a blow to the health care law, Aetna — one of the largest health insurers in the country — announced Monday that it will significantly scale back its presence on the ObamaCare marketplaces next year.

The move comes as a range of insurers have complained of financial losses on the ObamaCare marketplaces.

The company said it will scale back from participating in 15 states this year to just four states in 2017.

The company lost $200 million in the second quarter on the exchanges, a good enough reason to get out. Nevertheless, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini still felt it necessary to praise the exchanges while escaping from most of them:

“As a strong supporter of public exchanges as a means to meet the needs of the uninsured, we regret having to make this decision,” Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in a statement, citing a loss of $200 million in the second quarter.

If he’s such a “strong supporter” of the public exchanges, why is Aetna bailing out of them? After all, these are largely a creation of insurers in the first place. They wanted a captive market, forced to buy their policies even though many did not need comprehensive coverage at all, as a means to expand their bottom line, not to “meet the needs of the uninsured.” They could have done that simply by offering low-price catastrophic coverage and competed for that business, although that would also have required federal and state governments to remove their coverage mandates as well.

Don’t get fooled by Bertolini and other insurers. They aren’t victims of ObamaCare; they have been hoist by their own petard, to keep the Shakespearean theme going. They foisted this system on us with the eager participation of Democrats, and now they’re finding out what a disaster it truly is.

Consumers have discovered this already, but Tennessee consumers will get an extra slap in the face this October. The remaining insurers in their market want premium increases of 40% or more, and with options running low, they’ll probably get it:

In its latest filing, Cigna is proposing an average 46 percent increase — double its first 23 percent increase request.

Humana, which requested a 29 percent average increase in June, is requesting an average 44.3 percent increase, according to a filing with the state regulators. …

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which requested an average 62 percent increase, is not revising its 2017 premium proposal.

At times like these, it’s difficult to recall that the ostensible purpose of ObamaCare was to lower costs and premiums, or at worst to keep them from accelerating faster than the rate of inflation. Instead, it has blown costs into the stratosphere and threatened to bankrupt insurers while central planners try to cover their failures by hook or by crook. ObamaCare, it turns out, is a poor player that struts and frets its hour upon the stage – a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing but abuse of power. If only it could be heard no more.