Accuracy in Media

CBS This Morning host Charlie Rose said Tuesday that health insurance giant Aetna’s decision to scale back its involvement in Obamacare is a ‘big setback” for the health care law:

“One of America’s largest insurance companies is scaling back its involvement in Obamacare.  Aetna’s decision is a big setback for the president’s health care law. Aetna says it will only sell 2,017 health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act in four states.”

Rose then turned to CBS national correspondent Jan Crawford for a report on why Aetna is reducing its participation in a program they eagerly embraced when it was first enacted.

Crawford said that Aetna is currently covering 911,000 Americans in 15 states. That will be reduced to just four states—Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia—and “is effectively pulling out of nearly 70 percent of the counties where it offers health plans through Affordable Care Act exchanges.”

She added that Aetna said it just simply “did the math” and that it was too much of a financial hit for the company. Aetna has lost $430 million since the exchanges opened in January 2014.

United Healthcare and Humana have already indicated that they plan to scale back their participation, so Aetna’s decision shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini said the company “may expand their coverage again, should there be policy improvements to Obamacare.”

The insurance industry enthusiastically backed Obamacare, thinking that they would add more than enough healthy young customers to offset the previously uninsured and sicker groups that Obamacare was designed to help. But companies in that industry have seen their projections blow up in their face, as far fewer healthy people enrolled in Obamacare, leaving the industry with a costly pool of sick people.

For the liberal media the withdrawal of the major insurance companies from Obamacare has been a bitter pill to swallow, as they had been spreading the lies that Obama and the Democrats were spinning on how this would solve America’s health care crisis. Instead Obamacare has made things worse for millions of Americans.

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  • Steven Barrett

    If at first you don’t get your way with all your highly paid lobbyists and a pliant Republican Congress to wasted the taxpayers’ dollars, time and patience, there’s always blackmail and apparently that seemed to work, until welching Aetna had to go through with its bluff. If anything could’ve done more damage to Aetna’s reputation, and the already sorry as hell reputation of United Healthcare, it’s today’s broadside of Obamacare. If there’s any better time now to make sure we have single payer health coverage, Medicare for all, it’s now. I grew up as a military dependent and never once had to worry for my longterm health. Oh, but let’s not forget all the bogeyman stories concocted by the right wingers when Obamacare, which is really nothing but nationalized Romneycare, it’s the old lies about government provided healthcare. Never mind that these lies have slandered many thousands of doctors and other health care personnel because of the biased bilge thrown their way by the right wing to make sure it gets its way in making sure only the well-off, or extremely fortunate, will be taken care of without having to live with the every day “choice” between their health and losing the roofs over their heads. At least Humana is doing what it can with its coordination with Walmart to come up with an affordable Medicare Plan D system. Better not send in your last check payment of the year to cover your premiums because the damn thing will be “liquidated” and no markup of any payment will be made and before you know it, you’ll be bounced out of their coverage just as you’re getting ready to make your first refills of necessary meds in January. “Oh, sorry to tell you, but you’ve been cut off, better call United.”
    At least our credit union leveled with us. Thankfully not all the private sector was so insidious as United, and thanks to Walmart we were able to work out an affordable solution for myself since some of my meds do eat quite a hole out of my budget as a disabled SS pensioner. But what happens if Walmart or Humana are cajoled to pull out, and others after that? Then what? Dog eat dog and devil take the hindmost?
    Well, it was just that kind of systematic oppressive greed which drove yeoman farmers in Western Massachusetts in 1786 to take up arms and challenge the Commonwealth; but out of that came the Constitution. I wonder how the Second Amendment folks will like it when the people who’ve been screwed out of being able to afford to just LIVE without fear of going to the poorhouse for themselves, or more tragically, for their children, if and when the day comes if the vast majority of the population that’ll no longer be able to afford decent health insurance coverage no thanks to an intransigent and cowardly Congress too indebted to their new masters (Big Pharma/Big Med) to be able to say no so they could for once do the right moral thing and stand up and tell them where to go and how damn fast.
    Yes, I understand it takes a lot of money to come up with new meds and perform the necessary research. But guess what folks, I understand also and most of you should as well that we’re already paying for much of that research through our taxes.
    If the big companies want to blackmail and bluff their way into socialized medicine, then too bad for them when that day comes and they can’t screw us over any more. I used to be a fiscal conservative until I saw when it came to health care, what the ideologues who are taking their nods and hints, or worse, (God forbid) if not their pay, from the big companies doing all they can to keep scaring us away from obtaining single payer health care . . . and I came to the inescapable conclusion that when it comes to the usual conservative ideological packaging of the so-called better virtues of private health care, there’s no valid “fiscally conservative” arguments they can fall back on when the whole system has been taken over by moral cowards too afraid to do the right thing, find another way to make their millions and billions and get the hell out of the business of providing affordable quality health care for all, rich/poor, elderly/infants, everybody.
    Unless of course, the cowards actually do want to roll the dice and hope the vast majority of American voters will continue rolling over and not take a stand. They’d be fools because a new Shay’s Moment is long overdue. Not by violence. But by organizing to throw all the damn bastards who’d rather take their orders from the conservative think tanks, insurance corporate and related tax lobbyists and their talking shills in the media and pay no heed to the vast majority of Americans. Sometimes you just can’t stop a movement just by throwing money at those who’ll do the bidding of the ultra rich and powerful.

  • 4Justice

    U r in denial.
    ACA was a fraud, sold on lies.

  • Steven Barrett

    And a total “free market” system for the private medical system isn’t? Remember all the palaber about “death squads” that Obama would institute? Nobody would’ve come up with that nonsense if they didn’t have some experience or know of somebody who lacked, the experience of dealing with similar private health carriers when they had their “come to Jesu$ meetings with their health insurance companies. You want to talk about fraud? How about paying for insurance for years only to one day be told your wife, child or yourself will not be covered and you were never given any warnings of any cost-cutting changes in policy making from the top. Well, it so happened that whenever your insurance company was purchased by another or a newer leaner meaner group of stock holders took over, they …the predominate share owners instructed their lawyers to very quietly tweak the policies with so much gobbledygook and lawerese that nobody but lawyers, and only those damn kind of lawyers who’ve made a booty in their lifetimes of screwing over the millions of the people who’ve honestly paid their premiums month in and out, get to play God by saying, “Nope, sorry … we don’t know where you read that X disease or condition would be covered at such price, unless it was in a policy purchased before the company underwent some changes due to newer management’s efforts to institute more cost efficient steps to reduce losses.” Just like the blonde in Liberty Mutual’s adds making fun of the legalese with her “blah blah blah’s” only this time the companies you or your employer in all good faith just discovered when you just learned the tragic news about a major costly disease hitting you or your dearest loved ones, and guess what they’re saying all the while they’re pocketing from the profits generated by those premiums paid by unsuspecting but soon to be conned insured folks … Blahblah blah and a tough shit thrown in for good measure.
    Care to talk about fraud. Really? I’m on medicare and so long as the Republicans never get their hands on it to screw out more poorer and elderly and disabled people in this county by trying to dick with it, I’m confident that my coverage will be there. But it doesn’t give me a bit of comfort in knowing my kids and grandkids will be screwed out by the penny wise amoral Ayn Rands the private sector would really love to have working with on health insurance matters. ACA’s not perfect, but I’m afraid that if you found something that could replace it and it was even cooperatively operated between gov’t and the private sector, you’d probably scoff at it like so many others finding comfort in ranks within the increasing and frighteningly libertarian GOP of our time. I hope they scare you if you have children and you’re not in the one percentile. If you aren’t, you need to see a cardiologist and a brain surgeon. Hope you can afford them. I’ve got something less expensive. You can find them in any Book of Proverbs or Psalms or Matthew’s Gospel, esp. Matt 25. There’s an Rx for all of us in that passage alone. And I’m no Bible thumper like so many GOPers seem to be lately. But I won’t hesitating to use their medicine to hopefully wake them the hell up.