This demonstrates insurance companies have been manipulating the ACA system for a variety of reasons.
In Aetna's case,
Aetna claimed this summer that it was pulling out of all but four of the 15 states where it was providing Obamacare individual insurance because of a business decision — it was simply losing too much money on the Obamacare exchanges.
Now a federal judge has ruled that that was a rank falsehood. In fact, says Judge John D. Bates, Aetna made its decision at least partially in response to a federal antitrust lawsuit blocking its proposed $37-billion merger with Humana. Aetna threatened federal officials with the pullout before the lawsuit was filed, and followed through on its threat once it was filed. Bates made the observations in the course of a ruling he issued Monday blocking the merger.
They tried to cover up what they planned to do:
Aetna executives had moved heaven and earth to conceal their decision-making process from the court, in part by discussing the matter on the phone rather than in emails, and by shielding what did get put in writing with the cloak of attorney-client privilege, a practice Bates found came close to “malfeasance.”
Here's the part that should concern every American - especially those using the Exchange and insured through ACA.
The judge’s conclusions about Aetna’s real reasons for pulling out of Obamacare — as opposed to the rationalization the company made in public — are crucial for the debate over the fate of the Affordable Care Act. That’s because the company’s withdrawal has been exploited by Republicans to justify repealing the act. Just last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) cited Aetna’s action on the “Charlie Rose” show, saying that it proved how shaky the exchanges were.
Trump's first Executive Order was to try to screw up ACA.
His first act was to try and help dismantle the national health care infrastructure that currently insures 20 million more Americans than when it went into effect in 2014.
Let that sink in.
In the last three days, this country and the world have been subjected to some of the most blatant, irresponsible, unconscionable lies we've ever heard from any administration, much less within the first 72 hours of its existence.
From Sean Spicer's angry claims that, in fact, Trump's inauguration WAS the most attended in history,
to Kellyanne Conway's pathetic attempt to turn lies into "alternative facts" (really? that's the best she could do?),
to Trump's limp, lame claims (again) just this evening that he would have won the popular vote if "illegals" hadn't voted in the election. As Lawrence O'Donnell pointed out, millions of American citizens, disenfranchised through Republican legislators and governors across the country through various voter suppression laws, were unable to vote - so how did all those "illegals" manage to pull it off? (I'm paraphrasing)
THIS IS NOT 1984. I was there. It wasn't anything like this.
And now, we see that a major insurer in this country tried throwing its weight around by threatening to pull out of the Exchange if it didn't get its way and be allowed to merge with Humana.
Aetna actually tried to make the lie the truth. The LATimes article details how.
Aetna isn't the only major insurer to threaten to pull out of the market.
United Health Care announced it was leaving the Exchange, too.
BOTH Aetna and United Health Care claimed they were losing money.
As this article points out, Aetna was NOT losing money, as it claimed. It used 17 counties as its leverage, counties in which it WAS making money. Adding insult to injury, Aetna already had plans to start back up in these counties once the merger was completed.
By pulling out, Aetna could say that it wasn’t competing in those counties’ exchanges anyway, rendering the government’s point moot: “The evidence provides persuasive support for the conclusion that Aetna withdrew from the on-exchange markets in the 17 complaint counties to improve its litigation position,” Bates wrote. “The Court does not credit the minimal efforts of Aetna executives to claim otherwise.”
Thankfully, this judge has put a stop to this despicable manipulation of the market and the people.
The Republicans, in the meantime, have been pointing to Aetna's false claims as part of their (now, provably FAKE) claims that ACA was not working.
And if Aetna could conduct its business in face-to-face talks rather than in emails to avoid a paper trail to elude court scrutiny, it most certainly could have conducted conversations with Republican Congressmen in both houses to have alerted them to what was going on and to help garner favor for this plan and its success.
So this lie, that Aetna has been shouting from the rooftops since last August, has now been rightly exposed by this judge. If anything, Aetna's executives should be facing whatever legal and market consequences for their actions.
I think there should be some criminal charges for what they did. I have no idea if any laws apply, however.
These last four days, since Friday, have been an exercise in trying not to let the tsunami of lies, coming from just about every data source there is, overwhelm my sense of what's right in the world.
This was Trump's first official working day in office.
The untenable amount of bullsh!t coming from the White House, its occupants, and staff, must be reined in.
The press needs to quit giving oxygen to Kellyanne Conway's twisted little, her gaslighting, shrill, sarcastic, Washington, D.C. version of the Valley Girl act, give us all a break, and focus on people who actually intend to conduct themselves in an honest and ethical manner.
Sean Spicer seems to have gotten the message after all the outrage surfaced after his Saturday, 'bad guy' act. Maybe he has a chance.
Trump MUST be called out every time he lies. Every. Time. His distraction act is dangerous for this country, its economy, its security, and the "general welfare".
The PRESS is our last bastion against this tyrant wannabe. He hasn't changed since the day he rode the escalator down and started dissing Mexicans.
He isn't going to change.
So we need to be on our toes. We need to demand that we are told the truth, and absent honest attempts by Trump's "administration", the PRESS has to step up, investigate, watch, question, and provide honest answers to what is going on at 1600.
Our only other defense is going to be to clean the House in 2018. If 3-4 million women can march in snowstorms, and cold weather, and heat, then every voter needs to get to the polls in 2018 and do his or her JOB. We KNOW we have the numbers.
Hillary won nearly 3 million more votes than Trump. So people in three states, where the combined majority total of votes for Trump were only 80,000, need to get out there and slam dunk that total to ensure we turn the House blue.
We are going to have to get through a lot in the next two years, if Trump doesn't get impeached, and the next four, if he is and Pence becomes President. The only way we can survive this Four Horseman scenario is for the PRESS to actually BE the FOURTH ESTATE, vote the House blue, and continue to hold legislators accountable in 2020.
In Sean Spicer's press conference on Monday, the first 3 of 7 questions were taken from lesser known, right wing reporting sources. The questions in no particular order were about dismantling ACA, defunding Planned Parenthood, and stopping any kind of abortion.
THE PRESS CANNOT LET THAT KIND OF STAGING STAND.
And for God's sake, we cannot let a Republican win the White House in 2020.
In the meantime, write your current legislators and let them know you aren't prepared to sit by while a major insurance company tries to manipulate the entire system, at the expense of American citizens' health, for its 30 pieces of silver.