Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The New York Times: Has Obamacare Enrollment Stalled?

Readers of this blog know that I have made a number of points about Obamacare in recent months:
  • The number of people signing up for Obamacare is well below the level necessary to make the rates stable over the long-term––the longstanding insurance industry standard calls for getting 75% of an eligible group in order to have enough healthy people in the pool to pay the costs of the sick people. I have reported to you that less than half of the subsidy eligible have signed up so far.
  • The Obama administration's enrollment estimates, that they now use to celebrate their 2015 enrollment results, were low ball estimates that aren't close to the kind of enrollment they need to make the program both politically and financially sustainable.
  • Obamacare's overall enrollment is coming up way short of original projections and has slowed down considerably in the most recent second open enrollment.
In the face of these comments you have likely noted any number of press reports in the past weeks pointing out just how well Obamacare has been doing.

But now none other than the New York Times has picked up the same themes I have been talking about for months.
Here are some excerpts from Monday's article:
On average, so far only 43% of eligible people in the federal exchanges and 38% in the state-run exchanges picked plans.
"I think the concern about running out of momentum is legitimate," said one expert. He went on to point out that states should be aiming to sign up 65% to 75% of eligible residents. "If we end up running out of gas before 50%, that's very disappointing."

Obamacare's 2015 market share increase was "much smaller" in the state-run exchanges that did comparatively better the first year––"If the states that did everything right the first year and have stalled, what does that say about what we can expect from the states in year 3?"
"Over all, though, the gap between state- and federal-run exchanges this year becomes worrisome when considering that most models for Obamacare estimate that it will take about three years for the program to hit peak enrollment, and that the peak will be somewhere around 24 million people. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 10 million more people will enroll in plans next year [less than 4 million more enrolled this year]."

Another expert is quoted as asking, "Why did the states hit such a wall. I'm starting to wonder if we've overestimated this whole thing."
So, why is Obamacare hitting a "wall" well before either achieving the original enrollment estimates or sustainable enrollment levels?

Maybe the dogs don't like it.


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