Nothing to celebrate

Obamacare enrollment numbers aren't what they seem

  • Follow Editorials

A private foundation issued a report claiming 20 million Americans “gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act as of May 1.” And the left reflexively threw a party.

“The verdict is in: Obamacare lowers uninsured,” says a headline on Politico.

“Obamacare haters, your case just got weaker,” writes The New Republic.

“For millions who signed up, Obamacare is working,” proclaims Vox.

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but the celebration is a little premature. Coverage has increased, but 20 million? That’s a clear overstatement. The actual gains are nowhere near that high.

Had the Obamacare cheerleaders more closely scrutinized the Commonwealth Fund’s report, which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, they might not have been so quick to reach for the pompoms.

The foundation arrived at its headline figure by adding together the following groups: the 8 million consumers who selected an ACA marketplace plan; the 6 million who enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program; the 5 million who purchased a plan directly from an insurer; and the 1 million young adults who gained coverage under a parent’s policy.

The first problem is that the report counts all people obtaining health care coverage, regardless of whether they previously had it. That’s not “gaining” coverage – that’s replacing one form of coverage for another.

Next, the 8 million people the Obama administration claims signed up for private coverage through the law’s health exchanges includes those who signed up but never paid.

It also ignores the number of people who likely will fall out because of nonpayment in the coming months, but the report can’t necessarily be faulted for that.

As for the Medicaid enrollees, the 6 million figure is technically accurate. But it’s a stretch to claim those numbers as an ACA victory because many of those people always were eligible for Medicaid. They just never signed up until after October.

Only someone looking for reasons to pad the numbers would make such a leap.

Then there’s the 5 million who purchased coverage outside the exchange. This group includes people who bought plans directly from insurance brokers or insurance companies. Though these plans are ACA-compliant, they may not qualify for Obamacare subsidies. So how exactly can one claim these people are “gaining” cover under Obamacare?

As for the estimated 1 million people younger than age 26 who now are dependents on their parents’ plans, some analysts believe the figure is vastly inflated.

But even if it was dead-on accurate, Commonwealth’s 20 million figure likely is still off by millions.

One of the few journalists willing to take a sober look at the report was Peter Suderman, senior editor at Reason magazine: “It seems clear that millions of people, some of whom were previously insured and many who were not, did in fact obtain health coverage through Obamacare’s various coverage-expanding provisions,” he wrote. “But it’s too early to say exactly how many so far – only that 20 million is almost certainly an overstatement.”

So pardon us for holding off on ordering party favors until more accurate figures come in.

The true test of whether Obamacare is “working” will be when the exchanges reach a stability point.

For the exchanges to work, people – particularly the young and healthy – must enroll and stay enrolled to subsidize the health care costs of older people. If too many people drop out, premiums will rise to the point where the exchanges collapse.

That’s always been the inherent weakness of the Obamacare individual mandate, which is a forced regressive tax on young and healthy Americans to purchase health insurance plans they can’t afford or don’t want so older and wealthier Americans can pay less.

The heavy burden Obamacare places on the young and healthy makes it more
attractive for them to pay opt-out fines and risk going uninsured to save thousands a year in premiums. Then, if they receive a serious diagnosis, such as cancer, they can enroll for coverage and still be entitled to the same premiums paid by healthy people who chose not to game the system.

If the law is allowed to stand as-is, many Americans will jettison Obamacare once they discover that its inherent flaws make free-riding safer than ever, causing a downward spiral of falling enrollments and rising premiums that ends with the collapse of the entire system.

But if the left wants to declare victory after Obamacare’s first enrollment period and throw a party based on inflated numbers, hey, have a ball.

There may not be too many more reasons to celebrate in the future.

Comments (35) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
deestafford
38946
Points
deestafford 07/15/14 - 12:25 am
11
5
Is there anything, anything, that this devious....

Is there anything, anything, that this devious administration has not lied about?

Based on some recent reading I've done Obama is in such a bubble that he has only about six people around him in his inner circle from whom he gets information. His cabinet hardly ever meets and very seldom does he meet with any of them on an individual basis.

His primary sources of advice come from Valarie Jarrett and Michelle. Obama makes no decisions without running them by Jarrett. Jarrett continuously strokes Obama's ego and is the real power behind the presidency.

She even has a staff of about 40 and secret service protection which no previous White House advisor has never been authorized to have.

She has a power that has not been seen since Harry Hopkins, a suspected Soviet secret agent, held sway over FDR. A commonality Hopkins and Jarrett both have is both had/have living quarters in the White House.

He is in such a bubble that he honestly believes he is a great president and plans on keeping his staff together and establishing a headquarters in DC to be a force to insure his progressive agenda carries on after he leaves office. He seriously believes he is a messiah whose work is from a higher power.

The best word to describe Obama is "delusional".

hoptoad
36955
Points
hoptoad 07/15/14 - 01:40 am
9
3
Obama's ineptitude has

Obama's ineptitude has alienated so many democrats right near an election, so it's no surprise that he's got the press touting the unemployment rate at 6.1% when the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows it is 12.2%.

And the media are helping out with all this enrollment misinformation.

All this to smooth the democrats ruffled feathers and hope they all get re-elected. I wouldn't be surprised if he has delusions - to use deestafford's word - of gaining the house back.

hoptoad
36955
Points
hoptoad 07/15/14 - 01:54 am
10
2
Cost of insurance

One of our posters, in a previous R & R discussion, stated that the insurance companies have raised their rates, but argues that it's not because of obamacare. Obviously the poster does not realize (I'm being civil, I could've said "is totally clueless") that the insurance companies must be in compliance with obamacare.

That means the insurance companies must add coverage that is not needed or wanted by the insured. For example, the insureds are required to have pregnancy coverage even if they are 80. And if I read everything correctly, even single people are required to pay for services that may be rendered to the opposite sex or things they themselves would never need.

In order to comply with all the regulations of obamacare and provide the added coverage, it's only natural the insurance companies would raise their rates. And the rates are expected to rise even further.

I hope this enlightens that poster as I tried to simplify the explanation as much as I could.

carcraft
32312
Points
carcraft 07/15/14 - 04:39 am
7
3
Add to this that of the 8

Add to this that of the 8 million applications that have gone through the Obama care web site 4 million are flawed and need to be processed by hand because income, citizenship status and other qualifying data doesn't match. The "hub " that is supposed to verify the application data electronically doesn't work. Yes folks, the "hub" is part of Obama's $600 million dollar web site. The verification process is done by hand and only 400,000 of those applications have been processed.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 07/15/14 - 06:04 am
12
6
I'm so glad I have my
Unpublished

I'm so glad I have my prostate health coverage now! Thanks Mr. President!

ymnbde
12177
Points
ymnbde 07/15/14 - 06:06 am
8
3
they like their lies, and they are keeping their lies

yes they do like their lies
this government has let its marxist grasp
exceed its cognitive reach
but what were the lies for? who do the lies defend?
government is strengthened
the medical industry is harmed, and people will die because of it
the VA is truth against which no argument can be made

nocnoc
57392
Points
nocnoc 07/15/14 - 07:36 am
10
1
Obamacare is here to stay

WHY?
Once the Big Insurance Companies and & Lawyers figure out they can profit from it they'll hire Lobbyists. The Lobbyists will smooth the Politicians and their families with $$$$$. Then they'll talk a fight for a few years to appease the voters make changes to allow the Big Insurance Companies and & Lawyers to make more $$$$$ and claim change we can believe in and move on.

Like they did with the TEMPORARY INCOME TAX back in the 1930's and many other such things.

Bizkit
42091
Points
Bizkit 07/15/14 - 08:12 am
6
4
Well I think O bama's

Well I think O bama's planning to increase the numbers by expanding Medicaid by adding the 50 -75K Latin American kids is working- so he will get those numbers by hook or crook.

cush1944
23119
Points
cush1944 07/15/14 - 08:28 am
6
2
I know several folks who had

I know several folks who had their health ins cancelled because of Obamacare.

seenitB4
112141
Points
seenitB4 07/15/14 - 08:37 am
10
4
Many high profile companies will drop retirees

How do I know this...because we are dropped at the end of year..

This has been the biggest MISTAKE this country has ever made...seniors will be dropped from very needed healthcare....some won't have needed surgeries & won't have medications..get off your BEHINDS & vote this insane congress into never never land.

If they can't control the situation in DC we need to put some in who will.

Bodhisattva
9518
Points
Bodhisattva 07/15/14 - 08:49 am
6
12
More right wing rubbish, propaganda, and yellow journalism

Insurance companies never raised their rates before the ACA. Of course not. You always had you choice of companies and weren't limited by whatever company your employer said you had to use. That's why there was a 13.1% average increase per year in premiums in the decade BEFORE the ACA was ever voted on. That's why you always got to tell your employer you wanted to use a different company. Of course, the Chronicle knows that the way insurance companies stay profitable and survive is to only insure old and sick customers and never, but never, insure young healthy customers to spread the risk pool. Why doesn't the Chronicle mention that the GOP is, for the most part, holding true to their blood oath taken before Obama was even inaugurated to vote against and block anything and everything he tried to do, and are blocking Medicaid expansion in many states INCLUDING GEORGIA AND SOUTH CAROLINA, which not only blocks the Medicaid expansion but also blocks middle class families, and everyone up to 400% of the poverty level from qualifying for tax credits that were put into the law to help make the premiums more affordable, then whine that the premiums aren't afforable. HYPOCRITES!!!!!! It costs the states ZERO for 3 years then the states only have to pay 10% after that. They still have to pay 100% of the other taxes, but don't allow their citiizens to get the benefits. Party over people as always for the GOP. Block it all you can and then say it's not working and not as many sign up as they said were going to? It's like locking the doors and then claiming as many people didn;t show up to an event as someone claimed would show. Again, HYPOCRITES! Oh, so young people should just pay the fine and not have insurance. Great advice Chronicle. Young people live a more active lifestyle and are likely to get injured. Car wreck, ski trip, break a few bones and be uninsured and bankrupt yourself. Not to mention, in 2016, the penalty is the greater of 2.5% of taxable income or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child (up to $$2,085 per family), and increases per the cost of living after that. As for your, "if they receive a serious diagnosis, such as cancer, they can enroll for coverage and still be entitled to the same premiums paid by healthy people who chose not to game the system." As usual, no research by the Chronicle. They thought of this and it's not allowed. Your only allowed during open enrollment and then you're not covered immediately. Nice for the Chronicle to encourage people to break the law and scam the government. You'd think that would be illegal. Typical bull by the Chronicle, but nice to use the Koch's Reason Foundation, who come up with great libertarian ideas such as let the crumbling Interstate system keep crumbling and use all of the states' infrastructure money to build toll only roads so all of the regular folks get to drive on the crumbling road and only those who pay the tolls get the new safe highways. That's the Kochs for you. Pay to play, pay to do anything. Let the masses die, they don't deserve insurance, and they do nothing but take up doctors and hospital space that should only be used for the deserving rich folks. Classy source.

dichotomy
42235
Points
dichotomy 07/15/14 - 09:00 am
9
2
I heard a representative for

I heard a representative for a company that makes knee and hip replacements on the radio the other day. He stated that many orthopedic surgeons were having problems with Obamacare insurance. The patients have insurance cards, which they call and verify, but AFTER the operation when they file for reimbursement the claims are being denied and they are told the patients no longer have insurance.

If the problems don't get fixed soon many of those doctors said they will quit accepting Obamacare insurance for orthopedic procedures. I imagine this problem is not just limited to orthopedics and that MANY doctors of all types will quit accepting Obamacare policies.

There are a LOT more indications that Obamacare is NOT working than there are that it is. And wait until you see the rate increases coming in the fall.

fedex227
11192
Points
fedex227 07/15/14 - 09:19 am
5
13
It's called 'memory extinction'
Unpublished

Conditioned responses fade away as older memories are replaced with new experiences. Prevalent among the elderly subjected to the constant barrage of information supplied by right wing think tanks and of course, fox news commentators.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130918180925.htm

corgimom
45213
Points
corgimom 07/15/14 - 09:19 am
3
11
"As for the Medicaid

"As for the Medicaid enrollees, the 6 million figure is technically accurate. But it’s a stretch to claim those numbers as an ACA victory because many of those people always were eligible for Medicaid. They just never signed up until after October."

It defies all logic and reason to think that people that were eligible for Medicaid never signed up for it, that they would spend money on something that they could get for free or at little cost.

The ACES lacks an understanding of the poor in America. Do they think that they don't talk back and forth, and not tell people that they are eligible?

corgimom
45213
Points
corgimom 07/15/14 - 09:22 am
3
10
Dichotomy, did you know that

Dichotomy, did you know that happens with all types of medical services, and with people with private insurance, too?

When people lose their job and COBRA, that happens frequently.

corgimom
45213
Points
corgimom 07/15/14 - 09:24 am
2
8
Seenit, those employers say

Seenit, those employers say that their retirees can get Medicare and Medicare supplements equal to or at lower cost than their plan.

And a lot of times that's true.

The people that really suffer are the ones that retire before they are eligible for Medicare.

Then they have to go purchase a private policy or go to the exchanges.

You and I are in the same boat, I'll scoot over and make room. Welcome to our world.

corgimom
45213
Points
corgimom 07/15/14 - 09:25 am
2
9
And seenit, this is why I

And seenit, this is why I tell Mr. Corgidad that he'll be working until they pry the computer mouse out of his cold, dead hand.

Aint it GREAT, to see your retirement plans just fall apart in front of your eyes?

historylover
35828
Points
historylover 07/15/14 - 09:26 am
3
9
Very good Corgi!

"It defies all logic and reason to think that people that were eligible for Medicaid never signed up for it, that they would spend money on something that they could get for free or at little cost."

Well stated and extremely accurate!

seenitB4
112141
Points
seenitB4 07/15/14 - 09:34 am
10
4
corgi

I am not going to debate with you about this plan.....we know what we are losing....we know what we worked for, for over 71 combined YEARS....we know how we worked through weekends--holidays--all nighters & sometimes even when we were sick...

And NO, we can't get what we had....but I can get vocal & I will...

The most lies I have ever heard ......when I heard Wilson yell out "You lie" I felt embarrassed for him & thought, how crass to do that!

NOW, I would stand up & YELL IT OUT...lie after lie, after lie, after lie.

myfather15
59557
Points
myfather15 07/15/14 - 09:52 am
9
3
"It defies all logic and

"It defies all logic and reason to think that people that were eligible for Medicaid never signed up for it, that they would spend money on something that they could get for free or at little cost."

Obviously, you don't spend much time with PEOPLE, besides maybe on here!! Dealing with people on the street level daily, I see people constantly that just don't know they qualify for assistance or as some people would say "entitlements". About a month ago, I met a couple on the job that has a 7 year old severely autistic child; and they didn't even realize they could apply for benefits for this child!! They said they have never even thought of it; because most of the time they do ok, but sometimes struggle financially. I was the one told them they could apply for assistance with this child. That's just one example of MANY I could name, including adults who could qualify for medicaid but had NO idea what the qualifications are, and never thought about applying, because they are getting by!! Many American's that qualify, do not because they are getting by, and when they're doing ok, they don't THINK about getting extra assistance. Unfortunately, many American's are simply VERY uninformed; and in some aspects, that could be a good thing!! Imagine if everyone eligible, DID receive benefits; we would be in even more debt!!

Yes, I also know several who signed up through Obamacare, and so far it's been wonderful for them. BUT, what's wonderful for an individual or many individuals, does NOT neccessarily mean it's wonderful for this Country!! We will not know the exact price and consequences of the ACA for many years!! Every expert I've heard talk about it, has made that statement.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 07/15/14 - 10:21 am
7
3
bodhistechfan, and other
Unpublished

bodhistechfan, and other sychofantic supporters, can you tell me how often Insurance companies, prior to the ACA, would cancel the insurance of paying customers, who have not excessivly used their insurance?....and by the thousands I might add.

carcraft
32312
Points
carcraft 07/15/14 - 12:27 pm
7
2
Myfather, Obama has now

Myfather, Obama has now fumbled the whole thing so badly that the Congressional budget office can't put a figure on the cost of Obama care. Obama has delayed the employer mandate, allowed people to keep thier insurance etc. This has cut funding that was supposed pay for Obama care and build the funds to support and pay for Obama care. Well according Corgimom we are supposed to be excited that 6 million have health never mind that six million lost thier insurance and even got kicked out of the provider net work they were in. This whole thing is the biggest mess imaginable. Of course the press isn't adequately covering the mess. As I stated earlier half of the applications are flawed and the people who applied the applications are being processed by hand.

justthefacts
30087
Points
justthefacts 07/15/14 - 01:07 pm
5
1
Lack of Understanding?? Sure is. But, not the AC.

"The ACES lacks an understanding of the poor in America. Do they think that they don't talk back and forth, and not tell people that they are eligible?" corgimom
New England Journal of Medicine, "40 percent of people who qualify for free coverage through the government's Medicaid program don't sign up. In the worst-performing states, like Oregon, Florida, Georgia, and Texas, more than half the eligible people aren't enrolled. Using adjusted estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, tens of millions of Americans don't take the freebie, and tens of billions of dollars' worth of coverage are left on the table."

myfather15
59557
Points
myfather15 07/15/14 - 01:51 pm
5
1
Carcraft

Honestly, what does the government handle, that they don't fumble and miserably manage? NOTHING! Everything they touch, ends up being a miserable failure; because of mismanagment!! They can't even run the post office or public transportation; with both losing tens of millions each year!!

Bottom line; it's easy spending other's money, that you didn't have to work for and the federal government over the last 30 years has certainly PROVEN this, over and over!!

OJP
8500
Points
OJP 07/15/14 - 02:13 pm
0
6
"So how exactly can one claim these people are

'gaining' cover under Obamacare?"

In part, because of the mandate. I fall into that category. I purchased health insurance before the exchanges were set up because I (1) need coverage and (2) don't want to pay the penalty.

I always needed coverage but the ACA tilted the scales enough to finally get me to buy it.

Thank you, Obamacare.

justthefacts
30087
Points
justthefacts 07/15/14 - 02:16 pm
5
0
dang

I don't think I'd admit that.

Sweet son
13406
Points
Sweet son 07/15/14 - 04:42 pm
4
1
Just spent some time in the hospital and I have Medicare and

private Blue Cross and Blue shield. Waiting to see how Obama Care can mess up a deal like mine. Hope it doesn't cause any problems because I will be mad as hell!

cush1944
23119
Points
cush1944 07/15/14 - 04:50 pm
5
1
'I always needed coverage but

'I always needed coverage but the ACA tilted the scales enough to finally get me to buy it.'
OJP, forgive me but I do not believe a word you say.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 07/15/14 - 04:51 pm
4
1
You don't have to pay any
Unpublished

You don't have to pay any penalty. If you make sure you are not due a refund when you file your taxes there is no mechanism to make you pay.

Airman
3823
Points
Airman 07/15/14 - 04:55 pm
5
2
Obama lies?

Oh come on say it aint so!

The man himself will tell you he doesn't lie, as he tries to sell you ocean front property in Kansas

Back to Top
loading...
Top headlines

Augusta man shown beaten, leashed in prison photo

In the photo, Cortez Berry, who turned 18 on Saturday, is shirtless and kneeling on the ground with his left eye swollen shut and two men standing behind him. A rope is tied around his neck like a ...
Search Augusta jobs