Add Arizona's Meritus Health Partners to the growing list of Affordable Care Act co-op failures. The Daily Signal reports that this makes 11 of 23 such state Obamacare co-ops which will have closed their doors by the end of 2015 after three or fewer years in operation.
The Associated Press, which, along with most of the rest of the establishment press, has been playing aggressive defense on behalf of Obamacare since its passage and especially since Barack Obama's reelection in 2012, has no coverage of Meritus's crackup at its main national or "Big Story" site. Beyond that, readers will see after the jump that the AP's local stories about Meritus highlighted its association with ACA/Obamacare when things appeared to be going well, and buried it when they went south.
In early August, after a horrid start in 2014, Meritus bragged about how many people it was now covering, and the Affordable Care Act got mentioned in the very first sentence of Bob Christie's related Monday evening, August 3 AP report:
Christie also supplied the following additional hype on Meritus's behalf:
According to enrollment numbers provided by the Arizona Department of Insurance, Meritus had only 2 percent of the market last year, based on its enrollment and nearly 100,000 plans sold on the federal exchange. Based on numbers Piotrowski provided Friday, that has soared to nearly 30 percent of the 165,000 people who bought marketplace plans for 2015.
"I think the story is we've more than doubled even what that projection was," she said. "We've exceeded our targets through this part of the year as well, so we're really pleased with that."
The federal audit showed Meritus lost $7.2 million last year, but projected a small profit this year and earnings of $3 million in 2016.
On October 30, the "soaring" stopped. As the Daily Signal reported, "the Arizona Department of Insurance announced that Meritus Health Partners is winding down its operations and will no longer offer coverage in 2016," despite having received "$93.3 million in start-up and solvency loans from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services," while losing "more than $78 million, according to the Arizona Department of Insurance."
An unbylined AP report published in the wee hours on Saturday, November 1 held all mention of the Affordable Care Act until its very last paragraph, and implied that a failure such as this might not have happened if it weren't for a "compromise" made when Obamacare passed:
As best I can tell, the "compromise" to which the AP was referring but did not identify is that the Obamacare co-ops "were created within ObamaCare as a compromise for liberals unable to secure the creation of a government-run insurance program." In other words, the co-ops were set up because Democrats whose political futures depended on selling this nonsense to their constituents knew that a government-run "single-payer" system would never be accepted.
So they created the co-ops allegedly to prove that government-sponsored entities could outperform the private insurance industry. The effort has clearly failed in Arizona and about half of the other states with co-ops thus far. It's not unreasonable to believe that more such failures are in the offing.
Whether the co-ops have failed because the government is incorrigibly incompetent at running almost any kind of business or because they were structured to fail to eventually build support for single-payer (or both) is an open question. But the Associated Press is clearly taking care to ensure that Obamacare doesn't take the heat for failures such as these until that supposedly blessed day (in their fevered minds) arrives.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.