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Isn’t He Pro-Choice?

U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents after arriving at Dallas Love Field in TexasBy Caroline May

Despite President Obama’s call for more competition among health insurance  companies, competition has decreased on the Obamacare exchanges, according to a  Heritage Foundation analysis.

“My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when  there is choice and competition,” Obama said during a joint session of Congress in  2009. “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. And it makes it easier for insurance companies to treat their customers  badly — by cherry-picking the healthiest individuals and trying to drop the  sickest, by overcharging small businesses who have no leverage, and by jacking  up rates.”

According to the Heritage Foundation’s Alyene Senger, in most states the number of carriers on that state’s exchange  are less than the number that sold on the individual market in the state.

Senger, in an analysis of all 50 states, found that more than half of  America’s 3,135 counties would experience an exchange with two or fewer  insurance carriers and 78 percent would have a choice of three or less carriers.  Ninety-four percent of counties would have a choice of five or fewer.

“In 35 percent of the nation’s counties, exchange enrollees will have a  choice of plans from only two insurers—a duopoly. In 17 percent of counties,  consumers will have no choice — a monopoly — as only one carrier is  offering coverage in the exchange,” she writes. “Consequently, for many  Americans, real choice will be very limited in the Obamacare exchanges.”

Just 313 counties out of the 3,135 counties nationwide, according to Senger’s  study, have a choice of more than five carriers.

And while Obama lamented that 90 percent of the Alabama health insurance  market was controlled by one company in 2009, on Alabama’s exchange 96 percent  of the state’s counties will have just one insurance company offering  coverage.

“By the standards of the President’s own ‘guiding principle,’ his law largely  fails,” Senger writes. “Obamacare’s overregulation of insurance is to blame for  the lack of competition in the exchanges. The flawed policies contained in  Obamacare neither foster competition nor increase consumer choice, and they will  continue to negatively impact American consumers and increase costs.”





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