After watching many of the largest health insurers in America pull out of the ObamaCare exchanges, Senate Democrats recently put forward a resolution that shows their support for the creation of a “public option” for the failing program. “Even before the end of the Obama administration, Democrats are pushing a major change to Obamacare,” reported Fox News Correspondent Rich Edson on Tuesday. Even with such a major alteration to the law the “Big Three” networks were silent on the issue.
ObamaCare has obviously falling apart for years now, following the large hikes to premiums and deductibles. And according to Edson, many of the big insurance companies in the exchanges have reported losing millions of dollars:
Critics charge that even with tax subsidies to help customers pay, Obamacare insurance plans are still too expensive. Too few customers are signing up and the system, they say, is unsustainable… Democrats blame insurance companies for what they say is service to shareholders instead of patients.
In a desperate attempt to keep the program functioning and grow that size of government, they resurrected this scheme. “It's called the public option. The creation of a government-run health insurer designed to compete with private insurance companies,” Edson explained, “Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and a large group of congressional Democrats are now pushing the idea.”
Senate Democrats introduced the resolution on September 15, and the networks have yet to mentioned it at all. The networks have been largely ignoring ObamaCare’s collapse for the entire year, as the Media Research Center’s data illustrates. Data gathered during their evening news programs from January 1 to August 30 shows that ABC and NBC gave no time at all to ObamaCare’s woes, while CBS gave it two minutes, 18 seconds. So, it’s not too much of a surprise to see them ignore this major development as well.
September 20, 2016
6:10:19 PM Eastern
BRET BAIER: Major premium increases, high deductibles and private insurers getting out. With all these problems continuing to plague the affordable care act, or Obamacare, Democrats are now suggesting another option that could turn President Obama's signature health care law into something else entirely. Correspondent Rich Edson reports.
[Cuts to video]
JOE BIDEN: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is passed.
RICH EDSON: In president Obama's first year, Congress overhauled the American health care system. Even before the end of the Obama administration, Democrats are pushing a major change to Obamacare. It's called the public option. The creation of a government-run health insurer designed to compete with private insurance companies. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and a large group of congressional Democrats are now pushing the idea.
DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN: I think we're seeing the public option come back out of desperation, quite frankly. We've seen the United Health Groups, the Aetnas of the world, withdraw from widespread participation in exchanges.
EDSON: Last month, Aetna announced it was withdrawing from 11 of the 15 states where it offers Obamacare plans. The company says it has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in Obamacare. United Healthcare and Humana have made similar announcements. Critics charge that even with tax subsidies to help customers pay, Obamacare insurance plans are still too expensive. Too few customers are signing up and the system, they say, is unsustainable. Dr. Jeffrey Barke, a supporter of Republican nominee Donald Trump, claims the law's designers intended these results.
DR. JEFFREY BARKE: I think the reality is, we had to pass this bill to watch its collapse in order for us to get to single payer government healthcare. That is the only thing that makes sense to me with this Obamacare demise death spiral as we're currently seeing.
EDSON: Democrats blame insurance companies for what they say is service to shareholders instead of patients. More than two dozen Senate Democrats joined a resolution declaring that, quote, "Giving all Americans the choice of a public non-profit health insurance option would lead to increased competition, reduced premiums, cut wasteful spending on administration, marketing, and executive pay; and ensure customers have the affordable choices they deserve."
One economist says a public option may help reduce healthcare costs though with Republicans in control of congress, he says changes to regulations to help and compel insurance companies are the most realistic ways improve Obamacare.
HENRY AARON: I think these measures would sustain competition at an adequate level within the health insurance exchanges. Over time, I think in competition can and should grow.
[Cuts back to live]
EDSON: As for President Obama on Democratic efforts to change Obamacare, he says they are improvements as he supported the public option while Congress debated the bill in 2009. He suggests in the Journal of American Medicine that Congress should also increase government subsidies for those buying Obamacare insurance. Bret?
BAIER: More on this with the panel. Rich, thank you.