Apparently, there is something worse than a new health insurance marketplace with only one plan and zero competition. It is an exchange without any plans on it at all. It looks like that will be the reality in much of Mississippi. From Kaiser Health News:

Tens of thousands of uninsured residents in the poorest and most rural parts of Mississippi may be unable to get subsidies to buy health coverage when a new online marketplace opens this fall because private insurers are avoiding a wide swath of the state.

No insurer is offering to sell plans through the federal health law’s marketplaces in 36 of the state’s 82 counties, including some of the poorest parts of the Delta region, said Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.

As a result, 54,000 people who may qualify for subsidized coverage would be unable to get it, estimates the Center for Mississippi Health Policy, a nonpartisan research group.

Of course if the Affordable Care Act at least contained a public option this issue could have been avoided. A main reason for the public option was to guarantee everyone access to at least one decent health insurance option to avoid problems such as this one.

Instead Democrats decided to kill the public option. So the government is basically left begging some private company to provide this basic public service even though Medicare proves that the government is more than capable of directly providing people with public insurance more cost effectively.

I’m still patiently waiting for the promised vote to deal the many shortcomings of the ACA by “fixing it later.”

Photo by kreg.steppe released under Creative Commons License