Obama’s Promise of “Competition” in Obamacare: Also False
Amy Payne /
Here’s what the President said in 2009:
My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition. That’s how the market works. Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75 percent of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. In Alabama, almost 90 percent is controlled by just one company. And without competition, the price of insurance goes up and quality goes down.
Heritage expert Alyene Senger has bad news for President Obama: Obamacare did absolutely nothing to fix that.
“In the vast majority of states, the number of insurers competing in the state’s exchange is actually less than the number of carriers that previously sold individual market policies in the state,” Senger reveals in a new report.
That’s right—unsurprisingly, Obamacare made another problem worse.
In Alabama—the state the President mentioned with concern in 2009—about 96 percent of that state’s counties will have only one insurer offering coverage in the exchange. This means the residents in those counties will have no choice of insurer in the exchange.
State exchange plans are offered—and priced—on a local basis. So Senger dug down to the county level to find out what Americans are facing.
The result: In more than half of the counties in the U.S., people have only one or two insurance carriers offering coverage on their exchanges.
So not only are Americans facing higher premiums on the Obamacare exchanges, but they also face very limited choice in terms of their insurers.
Sure, one carrier could offer multiple plans, but as Senger explains:
While each participating insurer may offer multiple plans, the number of plans offered has little significance, because most are variations on the same basic design. Since Obamacare requires all exchange plans to offer a standardized minimum level of benefits, the differences between the plans is found mostly in variations on cost-sharing levels.
The bottom line: “The standardization of benefits combined with a lack of insurer competition means consumers in Obamacare’s exchanges will have very little choice.”
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