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Opinion
Megan McArdle

Obamacare Hits Another Bump in the Road

UnitedHealth's decision to leave Georgia and Arkansas reveals a geographic divide.
Out.

Out.

Photographer: Dawn Villella/Bloomberg

Well, the hammer has fallen: The largest health insurer in the U.S. has started pulling out of select Obamacare exchanges.

Five months ago UnitedHealth, which had been singing sunny songs to investors about its bright future on the exchanges, abruptly began crooning the blues. In an earnings call barely a month after executives assured investors that all was going swimmingly, they confessed that they were losing a ton of money on their Obamacare policies and described a pattern that sounded as if consumers were gaming the system -- signing up for a few months, using a ton of services, and then canceling their policies. If this continued, they said, they would have no choice but to pull out of the exchange business.