Of the ObamaCare sign-ups, only 27 percent had been previously uninsured in 2013. And of the 27 percent, nearly half had yet to pay a premium. (By contrast, among the 73 percent who had been previously insured, 86 percent had paid.)
Put all those percentages together, and you get two key stats. Only 19 percent of those who have paid a premium were previously uninsured. Among those that the administration is touting as sign-ups, only 14 percent are previously uninsured enrollees: approximately 472,000 people as of February 1.
Survey. HT: Avik Roy.
What Abbott could not find, however, was leadership. He says that to this day he cannot figure out who was supposed to have been in charge of the HealthCare.gov launch. Instead he saw multiple contractors bickering with one another and no one taking ownership for anything. Someone would have to be put in charge, he told Zients. Beyond that, Abbott recalls, “there was a total lack of urgency” despite the fact that the website was becoming a national joke and crippling the Obama presidency.
…[M]onths after the federal exchange finally limped into production, about half the state-run exchanges “remain dysfunctional, disabled, or severely underperforming.” This, even though we have spent almost twice as much on building exchanges for 14 states and the District of Columbia as we did on the federal exchange, which covers the residents of the other states.
If the red states had built their own exchanges, many of them would likely also suffer the same problems — or worse ones, given that red-state governors lacked the enthusiasm of their blue-state counterparts. Naturally, this raises some questions. What if the administration’s supporters who complained about red-state intransigence had it backward? What if the mistake was allowing states to do a job that we should have left to the federal government?
…So should Congress have simply had the federal government build the exchanges and be done with it?
Megan McArdle answers:
Actually, no. The architecture of the law allowed for some failures. But it also enshrined two important principles for failing well: experimentation and diversification.
The just announced two-year delay of ObamaCare provisions preventing people from buying policies that do not comply with ObamaCare mandates has winners. But the rule also deals another loss to unions, according to Jason Millman (in his first article for the Washington Post’s WonkBlog, since leaving Politico):
The extension of non-compliant plans grabbed all the headlines on Wednesday. Tucked in a 335-page rule, though, was the administration’s decision not broaden a proposed exemption on ObamaCare’s transitional reinsurance program.
It marks the second recent ObamaCare defeat for unions. Over the summer, the administration rejected unions’ pleas to allow their health plans to access federal subsidies.
The three-year, $25 billion reinsurance program meant to stabilize the individual market if there’s an early rush of sick insurance customers between 2014 and 2016. It’s funded by fees charged to the health plans themselves.
The unions say they’re being unfairly forced to pay into a program that their members will never benefit from.
Although the Administration had previously reacted with a proposal to exempt those union plans, Millman reports a number of sources who confirmed the exemption was so narrowly defined that just a very small sliver of their plans would meet the definition.
Unions’ frustration with ObamaCare is surely a benefit to those who seek to replace it with superior, consumer-driven, health reform.
What to make of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ notice that it will pay out retroactive ObamaCare premium tax credits and cost-reducing subsidies to people who have not yet signed up for ObamaCare?
The media have reported that these payments will be dished out to people who bought qualifying health insurance outside an ObamaCare exchange because the exchanges have not been working. According to the New York Times, the new policy is a result of the heroic lobbying of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, whose exchange has failed to enroll almost anybody. According to Professor Sara Rosenbaum of George Washington University Law School: “People could have gone to court to obtain benefits denied without due process of law, because of a breakdown in government eligibility systems, and a judge would probably have ordered retroactive relief. The federal government is voluntarily providing equitable relief that a court would have given.”
Robert Book of the American Action Forum has a new analysis of ObamaCare’s annual fee on health insurance:
- The amount of the “annual fee” tax on health insurers is $8 billion for 2014, $11.3 billion in 2015 and 2016, $13.9 billion in 2017, and $14.3 billion in 2018. Amounts for years after 2018 are set by a statutory formula.
- The tax will result in a premium increase of $60 to $160 per person in 2014, rising to $100-$300 by 2018, for the average insured individual — and over $260 per family in 2014, rising to over $450 in 2018, for families with employer-sponsored, fully-insured coverage.
- The tax applies to individually purchased insurance (through exchanges or otherwise), fully insured employer-sponsored plans, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid managed care.
Not to help the ACA work better, mind you. Everyone agrees this delay hurts the effective functioning of the new marketplace. But is it constitutional to fail to execute the laws of the land for no other reason than to help your party win an election? From The Hill:
The Obama administration is set to announce another major delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act, easing election pressure on Democrats.
As early as this week, according to two sources, the White House will announce a new directive allowing insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare’s minimum coverage requirements.
Prolonging the “keep your plan” fix will avoid another wave of health policy cancellations otherwise expected this fall.
The cancellations would have created a firestorm for Democratic candidates in the last, crucial weeks before Election Day.
The White House is intent on protecting its allies in the Senate, where Democrats face a battle to keep control of the chamber.