Was Obamacare Designed to Fail?

In 2013, Sen. Orrin Hatch said Obamacare was designed to be a catastrophic failure to give Democrats an excuse to push for a single-payer system. Events over the last three years, combined with Hillary Clinton’s campaign rhetoric, make Hatch’s conspiracy theory look more plausible by the day.

Writes John Merline at Investor’s Business Daily:

At the time, no respectable health care expert took Hatch — or any other conservative making such conspiratorial claims — seriously.

But today, Hatch is starting to look absolutely prescient, even if his timing was off.

Consider what is happening right now with ObamaCare. Enrollment is way below expectations. Insurers are putting in for double-digit rate hikes across the country, with some as high as 60%.UnitedHealth (UNH), Humana (HUM), and Blue Cross Blue Shield are pulling out of several ObamaCare markets, and most of the nonprofit co-ops created by ObamaCare have gone bust. As a result, the competition that was supposed to make ObamaCare exchanges the health care equivalent of Travelocity is evaporating.

And Democrats? They are using these problems to push for a still bigger role for government in providing health insurance.

The latest blow to ObamaCare came from Aetna (AET), which had been promising to expand its reach to 20 states, but instead is staying in just four. As a result, at least one county, this one in Arizona, faces the possibility that no insurer will be offering a health plan in the ObamaCare exchange.

Even before Aetna’s decision, 664 counties — more than a quarter of all counties in the country — had just one insurer in their ObamaCare exchange, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report. Given that Aetna is exiting more than 500 counties, that number will only increase.

Meanwhile, three entire states — Alaska, Alabama, and Wyoming — are down to one insurer, and there’s no contingency if one of those insurers were to pack up and leave.

That’s not to say all of ObamaCare is falling apart — only the heavily-regulated private sector piece is.

The law’s Medicaid expansion, in contrast, is doing fabulously well, with enrollment climbing by nearly 15.5 million between the summer of 2013 and January 2016. That’s a 27% increase. And that’s despite the fact that more than a dozen states refused to expand Medicaid eligibility.

So what’s Hillary Clinton’s answer to the failing private exchanges? Get more people on government insurance through what she calls the “public option.” This would be a government-run health care plan offered in ObamaCare exchanges across the country.

“The public option, Clinton says, “will strengthen competition and reduce costs.”