Behind the Numbers: The Obamacare Realities the Administration Has Failed to Acknowledge

April 8, 2014

President Obama spent last week celebrating his health care law, but while he was cherry picking the latest “enrollment” figures in a speech in the Rose Garden, he failed to acknowledge the core measures that will determine this law’s success or failure. In forcing this law through Congress, President Obama and his allies in Congress promised:

  1. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. Nobody is going to take it away from you, no matter what.
  2. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.
  3. We’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.

Three promises made. Three promises broken.

Ignoring the pain that this law has created for millions of families and businesses across the country, “Obama administration officials popped champagne to celebrate the enrollment figure.” A look at the numbers, however, reveals the last thing the administration should be doing is celebrating.

Still unknown: The number of Americans who have actually, fully enrolled in a health care plan through the exchanges by paying their first month’s premium. National Journal reports, “One of the biggest players in Obamacare’s exchanges says 15 to 20 percent of its new customers aren’t paying their first premium – which means they’re not actually covered.” Apply this nationwide and it “would translate into somewhere between 5.7 and 6 million people who are actually covered.” After months of asking administration officials for these figures and receiving nothing in return, Energy and Commerce Committee leaders have asked the insurance providers themselves for the details.

The administration is not even measuring the number of enrollees who were previously uninsured. Millions of Americans across the country lost their health care plans because of this law. How many of them are now enrolled in the exchanges? Fox News explains, “the administration’s numbers include people who switched or were dropped from their previous coverage, as well as people who have not paid their first month’s premium, and who would therefore still be uninsured.” The Congressional Budget Office estimates that after ten years and $2 trillion on a new law mandating the purchase of health insurance, there will still be 31 million uninsured Americans.

More cancellation notices are yet to come. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 7 million fewer Americans will have employer-sponsored health care coverage. CBO also finds that by 2024, there will be 2.5 million fewer full-time employees.

Despite the law’s name, and the president’s promise to lower premiums, Forbes reports “Health insurance premiums are showing the sharpest increases perhaps ever according to a survey of brokers who sell coverage in the individual and small group market.” A Manhattan Institute study found that “In the average state, Obamacare will increase underlying premiums by 41 percent.”

CBS Cleveland adds, “The CEO of the Cleveland Clinic says that a majority of Americans who signed up for Obamacare have seen their premiums rise. ‘About three-quarters of them find that their premiums are higher than they had been previously with other insurance.’”

The administration has unilaterally delayed or altered the health care law at least 38 times in an attempt to hide some of the pain that this law will inflict. Because of this, the future holds even more broken promises. Nevertheless, as The Washington Post’s Michael Gerson puts it, “The Obama administration is pausing to bow at mile two of a marathon.” 

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