April 1 2014
Okay, it's just a coincidence that the first day after the sort of closing of ObamaCare enrollment is April's Fool Day.
Still, we do seem to be entering a new phase of the ObamaCare mess saga: the everyday is April Fool's Day phase, in which the administration and its supporters giddily proclaim that ObamaCare is a huge success.
An alternate theme is that ObamaCare doesn’t exist, so what is the fuss about? Move on, people. An example of the first came when ObamaCare architect Ezekiel Emanuel went on “Morning Joe” yesterday, the sort of deadline for enrollment, and touted the “big surge” in enrollments and noted that the website was working. Emanuel learned on air that the website was down, as it was for a long stretch yesterday.
The exemplar of the second is when Senator Angus King, Independent from Maine, told Chris Wallace Sunday on Fox that “there is no such thing as ObamaCare” because, when one signs up for ObamaCare, you actually sign up with a particular company. Nice try, Senator.
The truth about ObamaCare is summed up in a headline today on PJ Media: “Study: Obama and the Democrats Disrupted the Whole Healthcare Industry for Just Two Million Uninsured.” The article reports that a Rand study “pours buckets of cold water” on the administration’s claim that it has nearly met its 7 million goal for sign-ups to ObamaCare.
The article points out that even if nearly 7 million people signed up and paid the premium—not even remotely proven outside the delusional environs of the White House and Department of Health and Human Resources—only a third of these sign-ups are from the formerly uninsured in whose name this massive restructuring of the American economy was justified.
But the uninsured have proven recalcitran. The article quotes thist:
One important finding of the McKinsey survey was that the proportion of those who had formally enrolled in coverage, by paying their first month’s premium, was considerably lower among the previously uninsured, relative to the previously insured. 86 percent of those who were previously insured who had “selected a marketplace plan” on the exchanges had paid, whereas only 53 percent of the previously uninsured had.
If you apply that math to the RAND figures, you get this: of the people who have paid their first month’s premium on the Obamacare exchanges, and are thereby enrolled in coverage, 76 percent were previously insured, and 24 percent were previously uninsured.
Two caveats. First, we know little about RAND’s survey methodology at this time; we’ll have to see the actual study to see the details of what they did. Second, we don’t know how many previously uninsured people signed up for off-exchange coverage, above and beyond the normal rate of churn that this market would traditionally see.
This again shows that central planners plan with a faulty understanding of human behavior: people who remained uninsured before ObamaCare are quite likely to remain uninsured after ObamaCare. Cost was certainly a factor for many of the uninsured, as the designers of ObamaCare believed, but so was human behavior, an area as unexplored as the planet Jupiter for central planners.
The PJ Media story points out that, with the Congressional Budget Office having predicted that the majority of sign-ups would come from the uninsured, who presumably were just waiting for a government takeover of the health system to sign up, ObamaCare has failed in its stated goal. But it likely succeeded in an unstated goal:
[ObamaCare] probably is working as its architects intended, though, which was to destroy the private health insurance market over time and toss everyone into some form of single payer — socialist, government run — health care system.
National Journal’s Ron Fournier, who is emerging as a sort of centrist voice of reason, said on Fox yesterday evening that ObamaCare can’t be repealed because the Republicans can’t afford to kick people off their health insurance policies. This is one time I don’t agree with Fournier: why would he assume that reform involves reducing access to health insurance?