ObamaCare’s death spiral, stage one: Denial

Posted by on Nov 03, 2015 at 9:34 am
obamabrow

For the press, the debate over ObamaCare is over. There may be a few proverbial Japanese soldiers wandering on isolated islands yammering on about the failure of ObamaCare, but word will eventually filter down to them, too.

This assumption is so deeply embedded that it is impervious to new evidence that ObamaCare is an unwieldy contraption that is sputtering badly. Yes, ObamaCare has covered more people and has especially benefited those with pre-existing conditions (to be credible, Republican replacement plans have to do these things, as well), but the program is so poorly designed that, surely, even a new Democratic president will want to revisit it to try to make it more workable.

Enrollment is falling short. The Obama administration projects that it will have roughly 10 million people on the state and federal exchanges by the end of next year, a staggering climb-down from prior expectations. The Congressional Budget Office had predicted that there would be roughly 20 million enrollees. If the administration is to be believed, enrollment will only increase about another million next year from its current 9 million and only sign up about a quarter of the eligible uninsured.

Premiums are rising. Not everywhere, but steeply in some states. Indiana is down 12 percent, but Minnesota is up 50 percent. Health care expert Robert Laszewski points out that it’s the insurers with the highest enrollment and therefore the best information about actual enrollees that have tended to request the biggest increases — a sign that they don’t like what they’re seeing in their data.

Relatedly, the economics are shaky. According to a McKinsey Co. analysis, last year health insurers lost $2.5 billion in the individual market that ObamaCare remade. ObamaCare co-ops that were supposed to enhance choice and lower costs have been failing and almost all of them are losing money, a victim of the absurd rules (no industry executives on their boards, no raising capital in public markets, etc.) imposed on them by the law.

Full story.

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