Another major insurance carrier, Aetna, pulls health plans from state exchange

Another major insurance carrier, Aetna, pulls health plans from state exchange

Paul KrugmanMemo to Nobel Prize-winning economist and former Enron adviser Paul Krugman: If you’re going to engage in hyperbole, you should have more than a tenuous grasp of the facts.

This morning, Krugman wrote in the opinion pages of The New York Times that the GOP votes in the House to repeal Obamacare are “a stand-in for what Republicans really want to do: repeal reality, and the laws of arithmetic.”

The column is a flatulent critique of Republicans’ style of governance in general, though the author does return to the topic of Obamacare long enough to snark, “It’s curious how comforting they find the idea of denying health care to millions of Americans.”

Krugman should save some of that spleen venting for Aetna, Inc., which also appears to derive a perverse joy from denying health care to millions of Americans.” The Baltimore Sun reported on Friday that the insurance giant has pulled its product from Maryland’s new health insurance exchange, set to open Oct. 1. The company made the decision after regulators slashed the rates it could charge consumers.

Aetna was one of several carriers poised to sell on the state’s exchange, along with Coventry Health Care, which Aetna acquired this spring. But Aetna told Maryland Insurance Commissioner Therese M. Goldsmith in a letter this week that cuts regulators made to the rates the companies had proposed ‘would not allow us to collect enough premiums to cover the cost of the plans.’

Gee, even a Nobel laureate should be able to grasp that simple lesson in dollars and common sense!

Defenders of the health care reform law, whose numbers thin by the day, will take solace from the reaction of Commissioner Goldsmith, who said they don’t expect the loss of Aetna and Coventry to significantly reduce consumers’ options. But that’s assuming that other carriers won’t follow Aetna’s lead. The article’s author, Scott Dance, says he reached out to other insurers in the exchange, of which two more major players — CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States Inc. — did not answer requests for comment.

In early July, another industry leviathan, UnitedHealthcare, announced its plan to abandon the individual insurance market in California. Maybe it’s Paul Krugman who needs to do a reality check.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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