March 18 2014
Patrice J. Lee
The Administration claims five million Americans have signed up for ObamaCare with just two weeks to go before the open enrollment period comes to a close. After a slow-down in February, a last-minute surge appears to have taken place in March with 800,000 people selecting health plans on the federal and state exchanges. (Remember, the Administration loosely defines enrollment as selecting a plan, which will get them into trouble if those people don’t actually pay for those plans).
This is a boost for Administration, which faced the prospect of not meeting its revised down enrollment target of six million people.
It’s quite interesting –i.e. questionable- that the numbers of spiked so remarkably in two weeks. That the Administration didn’t actually release specific demographic data but just announced the new numbers on a blog post fans my incredulity.
Nonetheless, even if the numbers are accurate, a new report casts a shadow over the prospects of millions more Americans signing up for ObamaCare. The key reasons for skipping coverage are expense and opposition to the un-Affordable Care Act.
Although the most common reason for doing without coverage is the expense, 70 percent of those planning to stay uninsured did not know about the subsidies afforded under Obamacare that reduce the cost.
"This is a staggeringly high percentage," said Bankrate.com insurance analyst Doug Whiteman. "The government has spent over half a billion dollars promoting the Affordable Care Act, and more than two-thirds of uninsured Americans still don't know about the subsidies."
Some 46 percent of those surveyed also were unaware of the March 31 deadline for being insured.
Some 17 percent said they weren't getting insurance because they opposed the ACA, making that the second-most common reason cited for skipping coverage. Half of the Republicans who plan to stay uninsured said this was the main reason, compared with only 5 percent of Democrats.
Among those between the ages of 18 and 29, nearly a third said they don't plan to obtain insurance because they're healthy and don't need it. Only 6 percent of respondents between the ages of 30 and 49 said that.
The Administration has major hurdles to overcome with Americans in convincing them that ObamaCare is not expensive or that philosophically ObamaCare is the right move for America.
First, ObamaCare actually doesn’t make healthcare costs cheaper for Americans. In fact, the government must offer tax-payer money in the form of subsidies to bring costs down to an affordable level. Putting aside your philosophical position on government subsidies, it’s embarrassing that the government has to offer people money to buy ObamaCare.
Second, ObamaCare is another means for government to exert control over the lives of Americans. It’s an entry way for more regulation and management of private enterprise and our private lives. It also provides another avenue to get Americans hooked on government giveaways. What happens if the subsidies disappear? How will enrollees afford ObamaCare? The response is that they won’t, so it creates yet another dependency on public funding.
What isn’t getting as much attention are the ObamaCare “success stories,” people who have signed up but learned that they actually can’t afford ObamaCare, because they don’t qualify for subsidies or as much in government subsidies as they thought. For example, this 33-year-old mom was a big cheerleader for ObamaCare, bit no longer as she no longer qualifies for a subsidy and can’t afford her plan. And this single mom from Washington State now must pay $621 for coverage up from $169 because she no longer qualifies for a subsidy.
Congress passed the un-Affordable Care Act before actually reading it to understand what it included and its implications. The same holds true for those who sign up for ObamaCare thinking they will get coverage or get cheaper coverage with some government help. Once they’re in, they learn just what unintended consequences they’ll look forward to such as limited care and limited access to doctors. It’s no surprise then that Americans continue to opt out of ObamaCare.