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February 06. 2014 10:51PM

Vicious cycle: Obamacare & Shea-Porter's 'fix'

Carol Shea-Porter, who voted for Obamacare, now takes credit for a new federal policy designed to fix a problem the law created in the first place. What she is claiming as a small victory reveals the great depth of Obamacare’s structural flaws.

Anthem, the lone insurer in New Hampshire’s Obamacare exchange, famously annoyed everyone last fall when it announced that it had cut 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals from the insurance network it offers through the exchange. Obamacare had forced insurers to offer coverage on the exchanges that was far more expensive than what they had been offering before. Costs went up, but to keep them from rising further, insurers made cuts elsewhere. One of them was to limit their provider networks.

Shea-Porter asked HHS not to approve such cuts in provider networks. When HHS said it would review them more carefully, she took credit for it. So she wants a new regulation to cancel a cost-cutting measure triggered by previous regulations she voted to impose.

Shea-Porter does not seem to grasp that this vicious cycle cannot go on. You cannot just force insurers to offer nothing but perks while preventing them from covering their costs. Eventually you’ll kill the insurers. But then, maybe that’s the point.


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