(This post continues where the prior post, Is ObamaCare Really Working? – Part I, left off. It is a rebuttal to those defenders of ObamaCare that say the law is “working.” Chris Conover, writing in Forbes gives two additional methods for measuring how well ObamaCare is really working.)
Method #3: Exchange Enrollments vs. Official Projections
Another means of analysis is to compare actual experience against what was officially projected by government analysts. These projections formed the basis on which Congress decided whether the benefits of ObamaCare would outweigh its costs. The CBO has dramatically down-sized its expectations for how many people might get covered under this law. Even more interesting is that official administration expectations of Exchange performance have declined even more rapidly.
In 2010, the Medicare actuary (CMS in the chart below) thought that 16.9 million people would enroll on the Exchanges when they first opened in 2014. In contrast, CBO estimated that only half that number (8 million) would enroll that same year. Thus, measured against those expectations, Exchange performance in year one was abysmal, achieving only one-third of what CMS projected and a little over 70% of what CBO projected.
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The Exchanges eventually reached 95% of that drastically lowered target. But against this good news is the bad news that for 2015 it appears that Exchange enrollments will be nearly one-fourth lower than CBO’s adjusted expectations. The White House, learning from past mistakes, lowered everyone’s expectations even further. It announced last November a target of 9.1 million enrollments on the exchanges in 2015.
By downgrading expectations and now declaring victory is like celebrating a student’s paper based on his or her own expectations rather than some more objective external standard. Conover puts it this way:
“In my view, so long as CBO estimates are used as the principal basis for judging the merits of major legislation in the first place, there’s no particularly good reason not to use CBO projections as this reference standard. When we compare CBO’s 2010 predictions against the far-more-rosy predictions issued that year by the Medicare actuary, we can see that CBO generally has been much closer to the mark than administration forecasts.”
Method #4: Medicaid Enrollments vs. Official Projections
Once again, when you look at Medicaid enrollments and compare to official projections, you get a more optimistic assessment of ObamaCare. Medicaid enrollment has fallen far short of the original predictions made by CBO when the law was passed. But relative to the significantly reduced expectations expressed by CBO in more recent years, ObamaCare has actually exceeded them both in 2014 and 2015.
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Therefore, when people say ObamaCare is “working” the available empirical evidence suggests that only in the area of Medicaid enrollment can this be said to be true both in 2014 and 2015. But nothing has been done to fix the many problems in the Medicaid system.
In conclusion, ObamaCare has succeeded only in expanding the rolls of Americans covered by the worst healthcare insurance we have to offer in this country. This is hardly evidence that the law is “working.” We can certainly do better than this. Those on the left who are satisfied with this are more concerned with achieving government control than about the quality of healthcare of the American people.
(For more on how well ObamaCare is working, look for my soon-to-be-published next book called The ObamaCare Reality – Is it really working?)