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Is this Key Obamacare Pillar in Jeopardy?

Obamacare should be thought of as a three-legged stool, but is one of those legs showing cracks?

While the Affordable Care Act is trying to accomplish a lot of initiatives, there are three, and really only three, aspects of the law that are irreplaceable. First, no discrimination by insurers for pre-existing conditions; second, the individual mandate to spread the increased risk from insurers to healthy customers; and third, exchanges to facilitate purchasing of insurance. Take one away, and the stool topples. Which is why some are reacting negatively to the news that Aetna (NYSE: AET  ) will withdraw from another state-based insurance exchange.

In this video, health-care analyst David Williamson discusses what these events mean for investors in Aetna, why it's withdrawing from five states, and what the implications mean for the future of Obamacare.

Still in the dark about how Obamacare might affect you and your portfolio? Don't worry -- you're not alone. To help prepare investors for the massive changes coming to the American health care system, The Motley Fool created a special free report that makes this complex topic easily understandable. Download "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare" and discover how the law may affect your taxes, health insurance, and investments. Click here for your free copy today.

Read/Post Comments (18) | Recommend This Article (6)

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  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 2:58 PM, roger142 wrote:

    In all the states Aetna has pulled out of, Coventry, a subsidiary of Aetna is gearing up for new customers. So what' the problem? In my State, Ga, where rates were predicted to go up 40 to 100%, I have noticed there are more insurance commercials on TV now.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 3:22 PM, doco177 wrote:

    Google.... "Obamacare Flowchart" at Intellectual Takeout .... to see a visual representation of the corrupt mess this really is

    Congress,Muslims, Amish, Native Americans are exempt from mandate and penalties under Obamacare that the rest of us have to pay.

    1. Millions are losing the insurance Obama promised they could keep. Because ObamaCare forces employers to offer expensive Cadillac plans but also offers the option of paying a fine for not providing health insurance that can be cheaper than providing it, between seven and twenty million Americans are likely to lose their health insurance coverage according to the Congressional Budget Office. The original estimate was closer to four million.

    2. The cost of healthcare premiums is about to further skyrocket. Premium costs have already exploded, but that is a slow-motion explosion. In the near future, we could see costs double or worse. Naturally, these costs will hit an already burdened middle class hardest.

    3. Lost jobs. Lost jobs.

    The Federal Reserve's March beige book on economic activity noted that businesses "cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff."

    Consulting firm Adecco found that half of the small businesses it surveyed in January either plan to cut their workforce, not hire new workers, or shift to part-time or temporary help because of ObamaCare.

    4. Doctor shortages that will mean rationing: The healthcare industry is already a bureaucratic quagmire. ObamaCare is about to add steroids. As the profession becomes tyrannized by government, the talented people currently practicing medicine plan to get out sooner than expected. Who knows how many will choose not to get in. Doctor shortages are what lead to the nightmare known as rationed care.

    5. Somewhere around $800 billion in tax increases will hit America's middle class. This added burden will not only further oppress a middle class already reeling from a drop in wages over the last few years, but could damage the overall economy.

    6. Inflation, the cruelest tax on the poor. When businesses get socked with added costs brought about by higher taxes and burdensome government mandates, they pass those cost along to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

    7. Added bureaucracy. Even those Obama lapdogs over at the Washington Post's Wonk Blog are admitting that applying for health care is about to get more burdensome than the byzantine paperwork involved in buying a home.

    8. To cut costs or to avoid having to provide insurance, workers on the economic margins are already losing hours, which means a lower paycheck. There are a million sad stories in ObamaVille; here are just a few of them.

    9. ObamaCare is projected to add $6.2 TRILLION to a deficit the GAO has already declared "unsustainable." That's "trillion" with a "t".

    10. More taxes than currently estimated are likely to hit because of situations like this one.

    Three years ago, Obama, Democrats, and his media lied to us about cutting the cost of health care, being able to keep our insurance, and not taxing the middle class. Today, those lies and what ObamaCare is and will do to the working and middle class are the biggest untold story in America.

    The govt becoming more involved in health care is the reason the costs have increased. So Govt creates a crisis, then provides a solution that comes at the expense of liberty and freedom, costs trillions, and by most accounts won't solve the problem but in fact make it far worse.Corruption, incompetence, disregard of the Constitution, and lying are integral to the way that this country is being run.

    REFUSE and Repeal Obamacare...If only a mere 20% of the over 300 million population of the USA boycott Obamacare the government would be overwhelmed to even think they could penalize or mandate every citizen that refused to participate in the most corrupt and unlawful ways which it was passed that circumvented the constitution of the United States.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 4:05 PM, rlee476 wrote:

    I read this article hoping to get some useful info,but all I see is a one sided attack against Obama.The American people are fed up with rhetoric like this and would like some unbiased info;but I don't think that is possible,especially with the journalists having their own agenda.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 4:49 PM, OldChicago wrote:

    We have Aetna and received a letter saying our coverage will end Dec 31, 2013. They have no plans to renew coverage in the state of Arizona under the ACA. All inquiries are sent to a "MARKETPLACE" web page that states, No information until October 1, 2013. That gives us only 3 months to find and get coverage (if we can with per-existing conditions). Our adjusted gross income or AGI, is under 20,000.00 and that's after you put back the SSI they say is required.


  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 5:02 PM, randywa wrote:

    Get rid of this abomination called Obamacare NOW.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 5:25 PM, JePonce wrote:

    The only real issue is that Obamacare is that it is the foundation for a single-payer, government owned and operated system. Obama, Barney Frank, Jan Schakowsky, and Russ Feingold are on public record. Schakowsky states that the purpose of Obamacare is to bankrupt insurance companies.

    It is a rhetorical illusion that it has anything to do with health care.

    Like all Leftist programs, Obamacare is about control. Control of the citizens...when government owns your health, government owns you...and control of huge portions of capital, $2.4 trillion from insurance companies, and $2.7 trillion from the health care community which was formerly part of our Gross Domestic Product, and part of the private sector. Obama can add that to the $3.5 trillion he confiscated from the private sector in 2012.

    A Socialist country is one in which government controls capital within a free market framework.

    Are we there yet?

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 7:57 PM, ObamaProgress wrote:

    I am not reading anymore of this racist Obama bashing! Obamacare is SAVING lives already. It rescued our failing, pathetic, healthcare system and provided FREE access to healthcare for ALL people, regardless! So what is some companies are getting rid of their insurance plans or some insurance companies are going out of business? Healthcare is not about profit, it is about CARE. Profit has nothing to do with it. If a hospital has to take a cut to provide better care so what? If a health insurance company has to go bankrupt so that better care can be offered through Obama so what? Health insurance companies are greedy and profit driving only. They don't care about people at all and constantly deny care to their patients. Obamacare says no one can be denied healthcare and no matter what, everyone will have insurance by October! Everyone who is freaking about their jobs is stupid. So what if your hours are cut? It doesn't matter because whatever you are lacking the government will make up for. It is a win win situation for everyone. I am excited to see what my Obamacare insurance is going to offer me. The first thing I am doing is going to see a GOOD doctor and the specialists I should have been able to see years ago but couldn't! To be against a plan that is going to better everyone's lives is absurd. Why are Americans standing against their own self-interest? The government should control healthcare because it makes it fair. Hospitals and doctors charge too much and need to be forced to stop!

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 9:06 PM, mdmn48gof wrote:

    How can the President exempt all the different groups that complain about Obamacare?

    Everyone is supposed to be on it No One Exempt !

    Only congress can change the Law.

    This is discrimination and should go to the

    Supreme Court!

    Does anyone see this?

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 10:03 PM, jlmesi1 wrote:

    ObamaProgress, if you believe what you wrote, there's no hope for you and you need to stop voting! Do you think Obama cares about your health or just about the power he gets from the government controlling your healthcare? By controlling your healthcare and 1/6 of the US economy, the government can control every aspect of your life--everything you eat, drink or do will affect your health, and therefore the government will control your whole life! I'd rather have my freedom and have all socialists like you and the president [wannabe dictator] go to a country that already is socialist! You act like Obama is going to pay for all of this and when you say less jobs and less hours working is ok because the government will make up the difference, you are showing how ignorant you are! You need to learn that the government doesn't earn any money like a business does--all of the government's money comes from the taxpayer, although you probably never pay federal taxes and you don't care how much more your neighbor has to pay to make up for what you aren't paying! Just keep in mind that this country can become so broke there will be no money to pay any "freebies" to anyone and your president seems to be in a rush to get to that point! I'm sure he wants it to happen while he is still in office because then he will become the dictator he wants to be--controlling everyone and everything! Wake up to what's going on!

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 10:15 PM, Veritas177 wrote:

    I am not a fan of the legislation- but this issue is overstated. AETNA has never been a big player in the individual market, and their withdrawal from a space where they have never been committed means little. Likewise, it is no big deal that WellPoint pulled out of the CA public small group exchange, since small groups will largely be sold through private exchanges, and WellPoint is better positioned in that space.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 10:52 PM, ceramicjohn wrote:

    jlmesi1 if you believe what you wrote, then you really need to stop voting! If you ever did in the first place. Your entitled to your opinion, BUT, your are not entitled to the facts. Stop making up lies, about something you obviously, know nothing about. What we have here folks is the far, far right, wanting to privative everything, and if that happens, then there will be only 2 class's of people in America. The very, very rich, and the very, very poor. I don't work hard to make someone rich, I work hard to better my children's life.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 11:12 PM, Dadw5boys wrote:

    What ever it takes to get control of Medical Care back in the hands of the Doctors and Hospitals and away from Inruance Companys.

    Anytime a Middleman like Insurance Companys can deny an operation for it's policy holders just to keep the quarterly profits high they have to go !

    American kids and Elderly prepared for operations has the insurance in place paid for and everything they were suspose to do only to turned away hours before. " Until Medically Neccessary" ?? The Doctors ordering the operation makes it medically neccessary ! I met a young man denied an operation for over 4 days. His parents showed me that cost went from $24,000 to over $170,000 with the Life Flight emergency transport and weekend emergency surgery. The Child has not spoken since, walks with a limp and he is barely potty trained at age 16. He was almost potty trained before the denied the operation. This is a Lifetime Medical and Disability Bill hand to his parents but they kept that quarters profits up to meet Wall Streets estimates.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 11:23 PM, RHO1953 wrote:

    This was meant to destroy the insurance industry. I know a number of people who are losing their coverage already. My own insurance is in danger now. When all the private insurance is unaffordable and gone, then comes the single payer system that will give the government the power of life and death over all of us. When we get to a certain age there will be no more cancer treatments or joint replacements, or pacemakers or any number of expensive treatments. That is how they will contain costs, and by then it will be too late to put this back the way it was.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 11:50 PM, gulfcoastrebel wrote:

    The steady drumbeat of anti-"Obamacare" articles from Motley Fool's staff writers continues. When we were looking for reasonable private insurance to purchase back in 2005, the name "Aetna" never even came up. They have always been a non-player as far as I'm concerned. So much for your "pillar".

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2013, at 8:28 AM, Rob61a wrote:

    For the people that say obama care is great, NOTHING is free get that through your minds and another saying eventually you run out of others money.

    Wait until you need something and this panel of 15 people that only know numbers NO Dr's on this panel and you need some care and they say Well you just do not need it. And who do you complain to??? barry obama ?? He will not be in office so he could care less he and his family are covered with what you used to have but have no more.

    Then lets say your mother needs some heart work and she is 80 years old, well she may only live another year or two so no we cannot give it to her move on. Sounds nice does it not?? Ask the people in Canada how it feels that they need something done they are given a date so far out. Then just before they are to get what ever it was done they get the letter this is the date you need to arrive at the hospital but if you are no longer living you have our sympathy. Yea real good huh??

    You believed what he and the democrats told you that is fantasy land nothing more nothing less.

    Lets remember the poor have medicaid so when the democrats tell you a story of the poor they are doing nothing but LYING and you sucked it all up.

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2013, at 8:38 AM, TinyMouse wrote:

    I don't know what the answer is, but I do know what is happening to me and mine regarding obamcare. My niece and her husband and two children received their packet in the mail, and the cheapest plan available for them will be 1200.00 a month.....15,000 dollars a year! My best friends daughter, husband and new baby received their packet, and the cheapest plan available for them will be 980.00 a month. My best friend, for just himself, the cheapest plan available will run 660.00 per month. Tell me again how this plan is going to make insurance affordable for everyone? If you opt to just not get the insurance, the government fines you? This is really, really scary folks. WAY to much government control over our lives.

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2013, at 12:34 PM, sogole wrote:

    Any law that must be passed to see what it contains,is a bad law.

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2013, at 12:43 PM, djkumquat wrote:

    there's no one-sided obamacare bashing, merely for the sake of doing so. the article is merely pointing out the latest problem, and its real world consequences. if it seems like obamacare is getting piled on, it's because it really has been a mess. it's time to scrap it, and move on to free market reforms. basic economics and history show: competition is good for the consumer.

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