Wall Street Journal says Elizabeth Warren has had 'epiphany' on ObamaCare

November 28, 2023

Last year, a non-profit group founded by former President Barack Obama lauded the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for having had "a huge impact" on Americans.

However, even one of the law's biggest backers has now admitted that its impact hasn't been entirely good.  

Prescription drug prices have gone up since ObamaCare came into effect

An editorial published by the Wall Street Journal last week argued that Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren has undergone an "epiphany" regarding ObamaCare.

Specifically, the Journal's editorial board members noted that Warren "is at long last acknowledging that ObamaCare has increased healthcare prices."

As evidence, they cited a letter to the Health and Human Services Department inspector general she co-authored with Indiana Republican Sen. Mike Braun.

Patients are being forced to use insurers' vertically integrated specialty pharmacies

The letter focuses on Obamacare's Medical Loss Ratio (MLR), which refers to a limit on the percentage of premium dollars insurance companies can spend on profits and administration.

Specifically, Warren and Braun want the inspector general to look at whether insurers are using vertically integrated pharmacies to get around the MLR, thus "resulting in sky-high prescription drug costs and excessive corporate profits."

"In functioning markets, generic drugs cost 80 to 85% less than their name-brand equivalents, giving patients much-needed relief from high drug costs and saving taxpayer dollars," the lawmakers wrote.

"But patients – including patients in public health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid – who either use or are compelled to use vertically integrated specialty pharmacies are not seeing this relief," they complained.

Further, they asserted that "insurers can use their [pharmacy benefit managers] to steer patients to their own pharmacies, while disadvantaging competing pharmacies with lower reimbursements and predatory fees."

Editorial says ObamaCare has brought up costs "by driving industry consolidation"

According to the Journal's editorial board members, the issues Warren and Braun identified in their letter are an entirely predictable result of ObamaCare's incentives for major insurers to consolidate.

"Market competition would normally act as a check on premiums and profits. However, by driving industry consolidation, ObamaCare has reduced healthcare competition and increased costs," they asserted.

This has led to what the editors called "a familiar story," stating, "Big government intervention creates incentives and raises costs that help big business, and then politicians demand more government intervention to fix the distortions they caused."

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