The White House has thrown in the towel. They have effectively conceded defeat. But don’t expect the mainstream media to report this.
In a stunning admission of failure, HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell announced last week that they have dramatically lowered expectations for ObamaCare enrollment in 2016. As the 2016 open enrollment begins, Burwell concedes she finds it “challenging” to enroll more than one out of four eligible uninsured Americans.
Burwell announced HHS was expecting only “9.4 to 11.4 million effectuated enrollees (those paying their part of the premiums) in the Marketplace (ObamaCare exchanges) at the end of 2016.” That’s a mid-point of the range of 10.4 million. That’s an increase of 1.3 million over the 2015 “effectuated enrollees” that HHS now numbers at 9.1 million – not the 16 million Hillary Clinton is claiming on the campaign trail!
Contrast these numbers with the CBO projections in 2010 when the law passed of 21 million effectuated enrollees by 2016 and ObamaCare now is expected to achieve less than half its original enrollment projections. Despite these dismal projections, Burwell isn’t even confident she can hurdle this lowered bar.
Burwell admitted this lack of confidence when she said, “And our target assumes something that is pretty challenging, which is that more than one out of every four of the eligible uninsured will select plans.” She explained, “The remaining uninsured have a lot of concerns about whether they can afford coverage.”
Burwell should be given credit for her honesty, something rare from this administration. But her admissions sound the alarm of retreat in this battle to win the hearts of the American people on the value of ObamaCare. ObamaCare’s exchanges are now on track to achieve less than half of the enrollment that was originally predicted.
Avik Roy, writing in Forbes, explains why the American people are turning their noses up at ObamaCare. He says in 2014 alone, in the average U.S. county, ObamaCare drove up the price of individually-purchased health insurance by 49 percent. In 2015 and 2016, additional double-digit rate hikes are common throughout the country.
Avalere Health published a report in March by Caroline Pearson that examined ObamaCare enrollment relative to the number of people actually eligible for the law’s insurance subsidies. She observes that those who are more exposed to ObamaCare’s rate hikes – by being eligible for fewer subsidies – were not signing up.
In other words, the value of ObamaCare declines the more people have to pay for it out of their own pockets. The value is so poor that 3 out of 4 eligible people are saying no. So the “Affordable Care Act” is clearly unaffordable.
What are the long-term implications of this poor enrollment? Insurance industry analyst Robert Laszewski discusses the answer to that question in my next post.