July 13 2016
One News Now
featuring Hadley Heath
It's no longer speculative: many ObamaCare enrollees are less healthy than the uninsured.
A Health Affairs data analysis shows the Affordable Care Act (ACA) brought sicker and more expensive people into the individual marketplace. At the same time, healthier people chose to forgo enrollment.
"I think that's interesting, but not surprising," says Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at Independent Women's Forum. "In the insurance world, we call this adverse selection – and we knew it would happen under the ACA."
And it's the natural result, she explains, when health insurance companies to have to sell a policy to every person at the same rate, regardless of health histories or health statuses.
"Because of course the rates offered will look like a much better deal to people who are sicker and have higher medical costs; and people who are healthier will see these rates as a bad value," she says. "Ultimately, people who are healthier are happier to take the risk of going uninsured anyway."
And while none of this was surprising to Manning, not to mention other policy experts OneNewsNow interviews, she says it was nice to see some data on it.
"Our philosophical opponents can't just call conservatives 'speculative' on this matter," she explains. "It is a matter of fact that the uninsured population is now healthier."
Supporters of ObamaCare believe more people will enroll in exchange plans – specifically younger, healthier people. Reasons include everything from employers doing away with insurance plans to taxpayer subsidies to help cover premiums and tax penalties for those who choose to go without.
Still, critics argue not everyone can receive a subsidy, while adding that money comes from somewhere (i.e., taxpayers). Others have simply chosen to do the math and take the risk of paying a tax penalty over premiums, which are expected to be higher, on average, this upcoming enrollment season.