Monopoly Not A Game For Rural Areas Under Obamacare

New York Times headline: “Health Care Law Jacks Up Prices To The Moon For Rural Areas.”

Just kidding.

But, for the New York Times, the real headline was about as strong as we could hope for: “Health Care Law Fails To Lower Prices For Rural Areas.”

While competition is intense in many populous regions, rural areas and small towns have far fewer carriers offering plans in the law’s online exchanges. Those places, many of them poor, are being asked to choose from some of the highest-priced plans in the 34 states where the federal government is running the health insurance marketplaces, a review by The New York Times has found.

Of the roughly 2,500 counties served by the federal exchanges, more than half, or 58 percent, have plans offered by just one or two insurance carriers, according to an analysis by The Times of county-level data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services. In about 530 counties, only a single insurer is participating.

The analysis suggests that the ambitions of the Affordable Care Act to increase competition have unfolded unevenly, at least in the early going, and have not addressed many of the factors that contribute to high prices. Insurance companies are reluctant to enter challenging new markets, experts say, because medical costs are high, dominant insurers are difficult to unseat, and powerful hospital systems resist efforts to lower rates.

There’s nothing in the structure of the Affordable Care Act which really deals with that problem,” said John Holahan, a fellow at the Urban Institute, who noted that many factors determine costs in a given market. “I think that all else being equal, premiums will clearly be higher when there’s not that competition.”

The fact that the New York Times can report this as some sort of interesting and unforeseen discovery should make everyone’s blood boil. We were told that the health care system was “broken” and that Obama and his technocratic experts knew how to fix it. He knew nothing. The experts were stupid. Here we are in the midst of their ruins and the New York Times continues to pretend we live in a magic world where everything is made glorious by government. This is their religious faith on display:

The Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010, was designed to make health insurance available to people who had not been able to afford it or had been denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. It has transformed the market for individual insurance by creating marketplaces aimed at making it easier for consumers to compare their options. The law also sought to level the playing field for new insurers.

Before its passage, the existing insurance marketplace was often dominated by a single insurer.

Have you seen anything in the news, even in the pages of the rancid New York Times, that has indicated that Obamacare has made it “easier for consumer to compare their options.” They expect their readers to just believe what they know is false information!

Furthermore, if there were monopolies, basic economics tells you that these were government created monopolies. Why weren’t the regulations creating these monopolies ended to allow real competition in a free market?

Because politicians like monopoly. It gives them power. A few people impoverished in rural areas are just more eggs that must be broken to make the omelet.