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Tags: obamacare | insurers | patients | covid

Obamacare Enriches Insurers, Bankrupts Patients

obamacare aka affordable care act document
(Zimmytws/Dreamstime.com)

Julio Rivera By Wednesday, 27 July 2022 03:54 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has devasted the globe.

The virus is at least partly responsible for over 6 million deaths worldwide, with over 1 million of those fatalities in the U.S. alone, according to the most recent numbers.

The effects of the pandemic have reverberated through every sector of the global economy, causing among other things, price spikes related to supply chain disruptions. But perhaps no industry has been more negatively affected, to the detriment of America's health and wellbeing during the past 2.5 years, than America's healthcare providers.

Like most crisis situations, exploitation and opportunism often expose the darkest side of cronyism. One should look no further than the recent earnings report from UnitedHealth as evidence of a government-created boondoggle that has put enormous profits in the coffers of America's largest health insurance carriers, while freezing out patients, healthcare providers, and hospitals.

In just the second quarter of this year, UnitedHealth Group's profits exceeded a massive $5 billion. That figure represents an almost 22% increase in profit over the second quarter of 2021, while overall revenues rose 13% to $80.3 billion in the quarter compared to $71.3 billion a year-ago.

Those garnering significant profits in this government-run game of "winners and losers" have long been the country's top five health insurance giants: CVS/Aetna, Anthem/Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare.

The current system that hoisted these entities to the top of what many refer to as the American healthcare "pyramid scheme" was largely constructed by former President Barack Obama's wildly unpopular and inaccurately titled Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The losers have long been insured Americans, who have seen premiums skyrocket while also watching their covered services dwindle as copays and deductibles steadily climb.

In fact, over the past decade, the insurance premiums paid by families have increased by 47%. That figure far outpaces both wage growth and Biden-era inflation.

Deductibles have also increased 68.4% over that same time.

Another loser in this broken system has been independent rural hospitals.

For many Americans residing in some of the lesser populated and largest geographic areas in the United States, these facilities represent the only regional option for care.

Unfortunately, they've long been victimized by bad healthcare policies, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the issue.

In 2019, for example, there were 18 rural hospital closures while the first year of the pandemic saw a record 20 rural hospital closures.

The forecast is only looking bleaker for the 60 million Americans living in rural communities who have limited access to healthcare services in comparison to their urban dwelling counterparts.

Even hospitals that are not in immediate danger of shutting down are facing other complications arising as a result of COVID-19.

These complications are largely attributable to critical workforce shortages.

Earlier this year, Rick Pollack, CEO and president of the American Hospital Association (AHA), told the Associated Press that about 23% of hospitals across the country were reporting staff shortages.

One of the top reasons for these staff shortages, according to a brief from the AHA, was a decline in the "emotional health and wellbeing of staff."

The brief continues that "this level of burnout coupled with ongoing COVID-19 surges, as well as other existing healthcare workforce pressures, has left hospitals across the country to contend with critical staffing shortages."

This data is further reinforced by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as it projects that 500,000 seasoned nurses are expected to retire or leave their field by the end of this year, leaving a workforce deficit of 1.1 million nurses.

In relation to healthcare, it's fair to say at this point that the past few years have obviously been the toughest that Americans have been faced with in the modern era, with an ongoing pandemic and dwindling access to care that is increasing exponentially in cost.

The American healthcare system is in need of major changes.

Hospitals and other smaller medical facilities must be fairly compensated by an insurance mechanism that today seemingly only exists to squeeze out every possible penny in profits, while disregarding the long-term prospects and consequences for Americans in need of reliable care.

While the answer is certainly not socialized healthcare, corporate cronyism has enabled insurers to pay out less than what is fairly proportional while charging customers more than ever before.

American healthcare consumers deserve far better.

Julio Rivera is a small business consultant, political activist, writer, and editorial director. He has been a regular contributor to Newsmax since 2016, on both its web pages and television network. His commentary has also appeared in The Hill, The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Toronto Sun, and more. Read Julio Rivera's Reports — More Here.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


JulioRivera
In relation to healthcare, it is fair to say at this point that the past few years have obviously been the toughest that Americans have been faced with in the modern era, with an ongoing pandemic and dwindling access to care that is increasing exponentially in cost.
obamacare, insurers, patients, covid
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2022-54-27
Wednesday, 27 July 2022 03:54 PM
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