United Health CEO Regrets Entering ACA Exchanges
December 2, 2015

Memo to Steven Hemsley: You are now reaping what you sow. When you shut people out of the health care system for years and years and years before being forced to let them in, guess what happens? That's right. Your $66 million dollar compensation package might drop just a bit.

The CEO of UnitedHealthcare on Tuesday said he regretted the decision to enter the ObamaCare marketplace last year, which the company says has resulted in millions of dollars in losses.

“It was for us a bad decision,” UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley said at an investors' meeting in New York, according to Bloomberg Business.

The reason he says that is simple. When they entered the marketplace, they ended up having to cover everyone, regardless of those pesky pre-existing conditions that they'd been able to use to beef up their bottom line.

Now, UnitedHealth officials have said that move will result in a half-billion dollars in losses over two years.

Hemsley said it was smart to sit out of the exchanges for the first year, but that the company should have held out another year.

“In retrospect, we should have stayed out longer,” he said, adding that he believes the marketplace will take more than “a season or two” to develop.

“We did not believe it would form this slowly, be this porous, or become this severe,” he added.

That's what happens when you let sick people stay sick. They get sicker and cost much more money to treat.

I would also note that United Health is making these statements and this play just as the Senate moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act yet again. As I write, Mitch McConnell is moving the repeal bill to the floor for a vote.

Pity the poor, poor billionaire CEO of United Health who sees such a mistake in covering everyone. If health insurers continue with this tack, they'll see themselves rendered irrelevant by the federal Medicare for All plan.

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