More than half of the 23 co-ops created under Obamacare are closing, the Associated Press reported.
Arizona’s co-op Meritus Health Partners and Michigan’s Consumers Mutual Insurance went out of business this week, adding themselves to the 10 that have already failed including co-ops in Utah, Kentucky, New York, Nevada, Louisiana, Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee, South Carolina and a co-op that served both Iowa and Nebraska.
“Republicans said the taxpayer-financed program exemplifies the problems of ‘crony capitalism’ in which the government backs certain businesses for political purposes,” said an Associated Press report. “Democrats countered that deep funding cuts forced by the GOP worsened the problems and contributed to the financial instability of many co-ops.”
One expert said that one of the reasons co-ops are failing is due to artificially low premiums.
“Now what made them attractive was they’re offering lower premiums so more people want to sign up for that, but that’s a dangerous proposition where you’re making up your losses on volume,” said Thomas Miller, a fellow specializing in health care policy at the American Enterprise Institute. “You’re getting more people, but those extra enrollees you’re bringing in are being underwritten at a loss.”
“Only in Washington would a group of bureaucrats think they knew how to micromanage ‘competition’ instead of letting consumers and markets do what they do best,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas).