What #Obamacare Looks Like When Enrollment is Abandoned as Measure of Success

December 18, 2013

#BrokenPromises, Cancellations, and Higher Costs Hallmarks of Health Law

With less than ten days remaining for those Americans seeking to successfully enroll for health plans with coverage beginning on January 1, The Washington Examiner notes that, “More than two-thirds of the estimated 46 million uninsured Americans still won’t have health insurance at the end of Obamacare’s first year of operation, according to forecasts by the 50 states.” And that’s not the worst of it. The president’s broken promise has already delivered nearly 6 million cancellation notices to families now left to worry about enrolling in new coverage and what the cost will be. With only 364,682 Americans having “selected” a plan by the end of November, and technology challenges persisting on the back end of the website, it’s time to start asking whether fewer Americans will have health coverage on January 1, 2014, than were covered one year ago.

National Review Online breaks down the dismal enrollment figures under the headline, “45 States Still Haven’t Hit 10% of Enrollment Goals for Obamacare.” The situation is dire. CBS reports, “Fewer than 1,000 Delaware residents have enrolled in the state’s new health insurance exchange.” “Just 574 people have signed up for the Hawaii Health Connector… about $348,000 each,” according to The Hawaii Reporter. Perhaps the poor numbers reveal why the White House last week abandoned enrollment figures as a measure of success for the president’s health care law. As recently as September 30, however, Secretary Sebelius told NBC News, “Success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014.”

The White House moving the goal posts begs the question as to what other metric can be used to measure success? Lower costs? Improved access? Sadly, Michael Boskin explains in the Wall Street Journal, “The ‘sticker shock’ that many buyers of new, ACA-compliant health plans have experienced – with premiums 30% higher, or more, than their previous coverage – has only begun. The costs borne by individuals will be even more obvious next year as more people start having to pay higher deductibles and copays.” Additionally, “given cost pressures generated by the government’s rules, controls and coverage mandates – insurance companies in many cases are offering plans that have very restrictive networks, with lower-cost providers that exclude some of the best physicians and hospitals.”

As Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton recently commented, “We are at a point where, come January 1, 2014, millions more people will have lost their prior coverage than signed up because of the health care law. Of all the Americans who have been affected by the law, far too many are now without health coverage this holiday season and worried if they will be able to afford a new plan. The president’s broken promises have fallen too hard on families all across Michigan and the nation.”

 

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