May 14 2014

Study: ObamaCare Insured the Insured

Patrice J. Lee

President Obama and supporters of his healthcare plan justified the creation of ObamaCare as the solution to covering millions of uninsured Americans. The un-Affordable Care Act was meant to clear hospital emergency rooms of people who use them as primary care causing others (including taxpayers) to foot the bill.

A new survey from McKinsey confirms that ObamaCare has done little to actually advance the stated goal of covering the previously uninsured as 74 percent of signups previously had coverage.

What it has done is shift those with private plans onto ObamaCare because their plans were cancelled or –thanks to taxpayers subsidies– ObamaCare plans turn out to be cheaper for them.

Forbes reports:

…the proportion of individuals purchasing ACA plans who had been previously uninsured remained low. In February, McKinsey reported that only 27 percent of those selecting a new 2014 plan were previously uninsured; in April, the proportion was 26 percent.

Combining that with the payment figures: of the people signing up for new ACA plans in 2014, only 22 percent were previously uninsured individuals who have paid for coverage and therefore enrolled in health insurance. That’s a meaningful improvement from February’s 14 percent figure, but it’s still low.

Combining all of this data: of the 8 million sign-ups on the exchange, we can only be confident that around 1.7 million are previously uninsured and enrolled. We can add another 865,000 or so for those purchasing coverage off the exchange, for a total of 2.6 million previously uninsured individual-market enrollees.

Obamacare is beginning to expand coverage to the uninsured; however, it’s far from clear that the exchanges specifically are a primary engine. At most around 930,000 people have gained coverage from Obamacare’s under-26 “slacker mandate” (not 3 million, as is commonly suggested); another 3 million or so have gained coverage from the law’s expansion of Medicaid. Approximately 2.6 million previously uninsured individuals have obtained coverage through the ACA exchanges and the related off-exchange individual markets; however, the off-exchange purchases are mostly unsubsidized, and therefore can’t necessarily be credited to Obamacare.

ObamaCare isn’t attracting uninsured Americans but, because of market distortions, is just shifting covered Americans from one plan to another on the taxpayer dime. Those enrollment numbers don’t justify the billions of public dollars used to create broken websites at the federal and state level. They also don’t justify the expensive and ridiculous PR campaign that wasted hundreds of millions on costly TV ads during the Super Bowl, brosurance and ho-surance ads that stereotype my generation, and the myriad other incoherent and insulting tricks the Administration pulled out of its bag to lure young people into ObamaCare.

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