ObamaCare’s Abysmal Numbers

cancelled-policy*600The ongoing efforts by the Obama administration and their media apparatchiks to boost the “soaring” enrollment figures of ObamaCare have hit another bump in the road. Despite administration’s highly dubious figure of eight million enrollments, the latest McKinsey survey tracking the health insurance market’s first open enrollment period reveals that a staggering 74 percent of those who signed up for the plan were previously insured. Furthermore, McKinsey “confidently” states that only 1.7 million enrollees were previously uninsured and another 865,000 purchased coverage off the exchanges. Thus, Americans have endured a complete upheaval of the nation’s healthcare system to provide coverage for only 2.6 million additional individual market enrollees.

And as most Americans know, the eight million touted by the administration as enrolled makes no distinction between those who have “signed up” for Obamacare, and those who have actually paid for their plans. McKinsey puts the percentage of those who have actually paid their first month’s premium at 83 percent.

What a lot of Americans don’t know is that a number of enrollees are duplicates, due to ongoing problems with the “back end” of the Healthcare.gov website, which still remains under construction. Thus, people who were unsure if they initially got coverage were encouraged to go through the process a second time. How many of those “double enrollees” were counted twice remains a mystery.

But perhaps the most glaring reality omitted by ObamaCare’s cheerleaders is this: they are touting the success of a plan that Americans are required to purchase, lest they face IRS scrutiny and/or a fine for failing to do so.

Nonetheless, this so-called success is what prompted President Obama at an April 17 press conference to announce that “the repeal debate is and should be over,” and that ObamaCare “is working.” The president was aiming his remarks at Republicans, belittling them in the process. “I recognize that their party is going through the stages of grief—anger, denial, all that stuff,” Obama smugly declared. “We’re not at acceptance yet.”

Despite the president’s arrogance, the American public, a far more important component in this equation than the GOP, is not “at acceptance yet” either. A Washington Post-ABC poll conducted in April reveals that 29 percent of the public believes the quality of care they receive is getting worse, compared to only 14 percent who believe it is getting better, a more than two-to-one margin. A majority of Americans believe it has stayed the same.

Nearly the same two-to-one margin, 44 percent to 24 percent, applies to Americans who believe the the entire nation’s healthcare system is getting worse, with only a third saying it is staying the same. Cost comparisons are also bleak, with 47 percent saying healthcare costs have increased, compared to only 8 percent reporting cost decreases. Similar percentages apply to the entire nation’s healthcare costs, with 58 percent of Americans seeing increases, compared to 11 percent who see decreases. Yet perhaps the most important question in this survey asked Americans if they approved of the way Obama was handling the implementation of the law. A whopping 57 percent disapproved, compared to only 37 who approved. One thing is clear: all of the above makes an utter mockery of the idea that the ObamaCare debate is over.

And why should it be? Even before the president unilaterally postponed business mandates that threaten million of additional Americans with policy cancellations take effect, the string of broken promises attached to the healthcare bill remain inarguable. Despite the promise to “bend” healthcare costs down, ObamaCare is expected to increase healthcare spending by 6.1 precent this year, compared to a growth rate of less than 4 percent the previous four years. Two-thirds of businesses that currently offer health insurance to their workers will see increases as well, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Nor did premiums drop by $2500 for the “typical family” as the president promised—when he wasn’t busy promising Americans who got insurance through their employer that their premiums could drop by as much as 3000 percent. In fact, according to health industry officials interviewed in March, premium costs will double in some parts of the country next year. As for jobs, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected in February that the reduction in the the total number of hours Americans work due to ObamaCare will be equivalent to a 2.3 million reduction in full-time jobs in 2021. The CBO had previously estimated a workforce reduction equivalent of only 800,000 jobs. If such revisions have a familiar ring, maybe it’s because Democrats’ initial promise that ObamaCare would only cost $848 billion over a decade was as empty as any of the others: ObamaCare’s ten-year cost estimate now surpasses $2 trillion.

And who can possibly forget the most glaring “broken promise” of all, more accurately referred to as Politifact’s 2013 Lie of the Year – President Obama’s oft-repeated contention that Americans can keep their insurance policies and/or their doctors and other healthcare providers?

Yet the fundamental flaw in the whole enterprise is best described by National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru who notes that “the picture of Obamacare today looks more like one the critics painted than the one supporters did: a lot of trouble for a small gain.”

Yet even those small gains may be ephemeral. As Bloomberg News revealed last October, there is an “accelerating trend” of healthcare providers demanding upfront payments for non-emergency care as insurance deductibles rise. That trend will undoubtedly be exacerbated by ObamaCare, due in large part to a provision in the law that provides enrollees a 90-day grace period of premium nonpayments before their insurance can be cancelled—even as the insurance companies themselves remain liable for payments to providers for only 30 of those 90 days. The remaining 60 days leave the provider on the hook for collecting their fees. Furthermore, the aforementioned small businesses looking at rate increases may decide to drop coverage altogether, putting another 20-30 million Americans in the same boat as the 5 million Americans who had their policies cancelled because they failed to meet the new requirements.

Another trend likely to accelerate is the narrowing of provider networks, as insurance companies strive to contain costs by eliminating more doctors and healthcare facilities from the list of options provided to enrollees. Lawmakers in many states are looking for ways to force insurers to expand those networks, and a federal proposal aims to give the CMS the power to require insurance companies to provide a full list of providers in a network. But as mentioned above, that in turn is likely to push overall premium costs higher.

As the McKinsey study notes, this also does not bode well for the future. Despite an increase of previously uninsured respondents shopping for insurance from 44 percent to 61 percent between their February and April surveys, McKinsey notes that only 21 percent of those shoppers reported enrolling in plan. This rate is far lower than the one for those who had insurance before ObamaCare became the law of the land.

The most prevalent reason cited for exiting the purchasing process? Perceived affordability, with the highest percentage of those refusing to buy being “previously uninsured and subsidy-eligible.” This means a plan primarily designed to attract more lower-income Americans who have never had health insurance due to affordability issues isn’t living up to expectations.

Moreover, Americans should never forget that all of this is happening even as two other major variables remain unresolved. First, the mechanism for a taxpayer bailout of insurance providers remains in effect. These so-called “risk corridors” allow providers to set their premium prices artificially lower until the end of 2016. After that, without underwriting by the federal government, premiums could skyrocket even higher. Second, the employer mandate affecting mid-sized companies with 50 to 99 full-time employees, and larger companies with 100 employees or more, has been postponed until 2016. It remains to be seen how many more policy cancellations will result when Democrats can no longer kick that politically-charged can past another election cycle.

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer sums up the entire picture as it currently stands. “Everybody is getting a worse deal,” he contends. “If the providers are, that means the doctors aren’t getting their usual payments, which means they have to see much more patients, which means they spend less time, which means the care is inferior, that means they are reimbursed at a lower rate, which means some of them will go out of business.”

He also addresses the president’s unseemly spiking of the ObamaCare ball. “Which is going to have more effect on the voter–Obama in a press conference in a holiday week throwing out a number, 8 million, which means nothing?” he asks. “Or knowing someone in your family, or you, losing health insurance, having your hours reduced so your employer can call you part-time—losing your job, losing hours–all of this stuff affecting you personally?

No matter how one answers those questions one thing is certain: America has a long, long way to go before any debate regarding ObamaCare is over.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

Subscribe to Frontpage’s TV show, The Glazov Gang, and LIKE it on Facebook.

  • Anon

    The debate about this law is OVER! The ACA it is the law of the land now that EVERYONE needs to OBEY and PAY.It is time the Democrats pivot to the ENFORCEMENT provisions contained in this law. When young get a couple of IRS special agents at their door they will change their tune pretty fast about signing up for insurance. Getting a criminal record will also diminish their chances in the job market and finding a spouse as well as getting a bank account and passport and their names will be posted in the local police blotter with a mug shot that will go viral on Facebook on Twitter which will be social suicide when they get unfriended by everyone they know. Yet, we never hear about the benefits of stern enforcement like this. If this law is really going to work we need to pivot to ENFORCEMENT ad stop the debate!

    • Craig

      Yeah, sure Sport….put the Healthcare Gestapo on em…LOL

    • danhoch

      Are you for real? In what lala land do you live? You think with the decreasing IRS agents and agency as a whole they are going to go find millions of young/students and prosecute them, that this will happen? They can’t even keep up with the income tax forms of today. I think you need to quit drinking the coolaid and get real. LOOK at the facts first before making these kinds of statements. You sound like nObama!!

      • quillerm

        WASHINGTON, D.C. — Still mired in scandal for its mishandling of nonprofit political groups, the Internal Revenue Service is prepping for a new role: chief enforcement arm of the Affordable Care Act.

        That task will require new agents — 6,700, the IRS figures — and more money — about $1 billion more than the current budget.

        Confronted with the tax agency’s 9-percent increase in its 2014 budget, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., blasted Deputy IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel at a meeting of the House Committee on Ways and Means Thursday morning.

        After reading off a long list of instances of waste, fraud, excess and abuse at the agency over the past several years, Ryan demanded to know how the IRS felt it had the “moral authority” to ask for more money. He actually sounded almost hurt by the request.

        Werfel meekly responded that the additional funding was essential to the agency’s expanded enforcement mandate.

        The agency’s latest funding boost follows an increase of nearly $1.5 billion and 1,200 agents already dedicated to the implementation of ACA.

        • danhoch

          I truly would be surprised if the House grants that kind of money to support the ACA which they know is pissing money down the drain. It has had SO many cost overruns, federal and state levels, it’s unreal. They could have given the money to those that didn’t have insurance and tell them to go buy some; but it’s more fun to wreck the economy of America, to the tune of TRILLIONS of $$$$$.

        • danhoch

          And I’m in the military in Germany, we don’t get MSNBC or anything else….sorry, I have to read mine here and at yahoo. All we have is AFN (Armed Forces Network), and nobama hasn’t taken it over ……yet.

      • 95Theses

        Since my own sense of humor is categorically sardonic, sarcastic – and sometimes even a dash cynical – I recognize irony when I see it and I’m pretty sure that he’s pushing your leg.

        Personally I’d rather the regime waive the waivers and get down to enforcing every provision of the ObamaCare law. When the beguiled public discovers what they bought into by reelecting this POSOTUS, then buyer’s regret will set in faster than Quikrete® Concrete on a hot July afternoon. Were that to happen the exuberance on November 5th would be unprecedented.

        Obama has the prescience to foresee this calamity and that fact accounts for all of the unconstitutional waivers.

        If anything, Republicans in the House ought to have insisted on the enforcement. The collective stupidity is discouraging.

    • davarino

      Zieg Heil
      And I thought it was the right that was supposed to be the fascists

      • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

        Nope – fascism is actually a movement of the Left, but they like to pretend otherwise for obvious reasons. Interestingly, I wrote my own “Sieg Heil” to this fascist named “Anon” before I saw yours – I think it’s proof we’re both correct in our judgment of him.

    • quillerm

      Submit or face the consequences. Those that don’t comply with a smile will be labeled as racists.

    • CapitalistPig

      On the left, this is what’s called “freedom”.

      • BS77

        We are witnessing the decline and fall of a once great, powerful, prosperous and truly progressive nation…one where personal freedom and responsibility were once the norm . Now the norms are astronomical taxes, welfare, food stamps, homelessness, urban violence and the disintegration of the family.

        • CapitalistPig

          Couldn’t agree more.
          But I was hesitant to be to tough on Anon above–while he is correct, police state tactics sure would help with compliance, I’m not sure if he wasn’t just being facetious.

          After a bit of back checking though, I think this is a serious comment.

          As far Anon is concerned he has no problem with replacing our civil society based on personal responsibility, individual freedom & cooperation with a dependency society based on group rights (gang rights actually) & coercion. That really is “freedom” to him.
          What a sad pitiable little character.

    • Gee

      Funny how while it was voted down repeatedly it was not a done deal. Now that it was pushed through by questionable legal maneuvers it cannot be questioned – why?
      Any law – even a Constitution Amendment can and has been removed.
      Only fascists seem to believe that their laws are above reproach.

    • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

      Sieg Heil! Obey der leader! Goose-step down to the nearest government HHS office and have your fetters attached! You belong to the state!

      One thing we agree on, Fritz – Democrats should enforce this act (it isn’t really a law because it’s unconstitutional) to the letter. Let everyone understand how terrible it is so that we may sweep you guys from office int he next two elections and take back our country.

  • CaoMoo

    I just had to wait till sept to see a neurologist never had that happen before. While I stll had my own plan I was paying 150% more for premium after Obamacare. I still have people tell me to get Ocare and I tell them I =’ll stick with medicare the Ocare site is a security nightmare and unfinished!

  • quillerm

    Considering that compliance with ACA is dictated by FORCE, why have only 9 Million signed up? It’s not like the American people have a choice, the IRS knows where they live and can take their paycheck.

    • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

      Actually, it’s doubtful the IRS actually has enforcement capability in many cases. There is some ambiguity in the act (big surprise), they can only deduct the tax penalty from a tax refund (if you have one), and they don’t have the agents they would need to really enforce this.

  • Ban Liberals

    This is what happens when Congress (and a dumb, idealistic Supreme Court justice) listen to a dumb Speaker and pass dumb bills to find out what’s in them.

  • http://www.clarespark.com/ Clare Spark

    There is a doctor shortage and not all doctors are equally competent. And there will be rationing and long wait times. But to those who are not versed in the fine points of medical care, this will be irrelevant. They will be grateful and they will be poor.

  • Cappy1437

    Anyone who voted for Obama and thought they were going to get free medical care needs to get hit in the wallet and hard. They will get what they deserve and then let’s see how happy they are with their stupid choice.

  • wisntons

    Isn’t Obamacare designed to fail?

    • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

      Yes, to provide an excuse to go all the way to “single payer” (complete government control).

  • Gee

    No number from the Federal government can be trusted anymore. One of Odumba’s first acts was to take over the Census Bureau from the Department of Commerce. Now none of the data can be trusted.

  • Randy Townsend

    All true, but irrelevant. Their goal was to get it made the “law”, and that was done (details, numbers, cost, coverage, etc – DOESN’T MATTER). Next up: Amnesty, um, “immigration reform”… And the MSM has already decided Hillary is to be coronated in 2017…