Government & Politics

The ObamaCare Enrollment Trifecta

Fewer enrolled than they said, they're sicker than they said, and the "market" is closed.

Apr. 10, 2014

Remember those 30 million uninsured individuals – or was it 50 million? Democrats were always moving the goal post – who were going to be rescued by the deus ex machina called the Affordable Care Act? Well, the curtain’s all but closed on the first enrollment period, and numbers show it’s likely that less than 1% of the population actually went from uninsured to insured through ObamaCare exchanges.

Since the March 31 deadline, Barack Obama has been touting 7.1 million sign-ups. That claim is astonishing because for weeks after the October ObamaCare rollout, the White House couldn’t pinpoint any exact enrollment data, until eureka! At 12:01 am on April 1, that 7.1 million figure was ready, available, and, most important of all, unquestionably factual. Yes, most definitely factual.

Or, perhaps not.

According to a RAND study released this week, as of March 28, “3.9 million people are now covered through the state and federal marketplace – the so-called insurance exchanges.” Also, from September 2013 through March 2014, Medicaid rolls went up by 5.9 million, and 8.2 million enrolled in employer-sponsored plans. Granted, the RAND study ended three days before the enrollment period closed, so the 3.9 million figure undoubtedly grew. But on March 27, one day before the close of the study, the Obama administration was already claiming more than six million sign-ups.

Meanwhile, how many millions lost their policies due to ObamaCare? And how many more lost policies because they could not afford the cost increases foisted on them by the Unaffordable No-Care Act?

Given Barack Obama’s downright abysmal track record for telling the truth (just remember, if you like your plan, you can keep it), RAND seems to have more credibility. Further challenging White House claims of victory, the RAND study found that only 1.4 million of those who signed up via ObamaCare exchanges were previously uninsured. And then there is the all-important and unanswered question of how many of those who signed up actually paid. Insurers say that number is perhaps 80% of sign-ups, but, conveniently, the White House doesn’t have those numbers.

Of course, ObamaCare requires not just that people sign up but also that the right people sign up: namely, young and healthy individuals who will largely foot the bill for everyone else.

Another epic failure.

According to a “first look” analysis conducted by Express Scripts, those who signed up for insurance in January and February through the ObamaCare exchanges were actually more likely to use specialty medications to treat conditions such as pain, HIV, and depression. In fact, while 0.75% of prescriptions in commercial insurance plans were for specialty medications, the number was 1.1% for ObamaCare exchange prescriptions, a difference of 47%. As the study notes, “Increased volume for higher cost specialty drugs can have a significant impact on the cost burden for both plan sponsors and patients.”

Since ObamaCare prohibits insurance companies from rejecting applicants based on pre-existing conditions, and since companies adjust their rates based on covered populations, this means even higher premiums are looming for everyone.

Of course, it’s possible that a stampede of young, healthy individuals rushed to enroll for coverage in time for the March 31 deadline, and if this is the case, then the scenario may change. Possible, but unlikely.

Far more likely is that many young, healthy individuals opted out of enrolling, or at least put it off, thinking they could enroll at any time.

Wrong again.

Now that the enrollment period has ended, most people won’t be able to buy insurance until the next open enrollment, which begins Nov. 15, 2014. This is true both inside and outside the exchanges. That’s right, the marketplace – which is anything but – is closed.

This would be particularly ironic if the aim of ObamaCare were to get more people insured, as the claim went. When we understand, however, that the goal is and always has been full government control of the individual, then it makes disturbingly perfect sense.

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