Right Hooks

Administration Expects Only Marginal Enrollment in 2016

HHS now anticipating just half of what CBO projected.

Jordan Candler · Oct. 16, 2015

In a rather remarkable admission, the White House now expects ObamaCare enrollment numbers to improve marginally at best by the end of the next filing period. The Hill has the details: “The Obama administration on Thursday announced a goal of having 10 million people signed up for ObamaCare coverage next year, fewer than a million more than are enrolled this year. Hitting the goal would be an increase of just 900,000 people from the 9.1 million people that the administration expects will be enrolled at the end of this year.” Just how far off would that figure be? “The goal of 10 million sign-ups is far below a Congressional Budget Office projection in June that 20 million people would be signed up in 2016.” And why aren’t people enrolling? “The administration says that projection [from the CBO] assumed that people would drop employer-sponsored coverage and shift to the ObamaCare marketplace, but that shift has not occurred.”

The bigger question though is why millions of uninsured aren’t signing up. The government estimates 10.5 million eligible Americans are still foregoing insurance. And according to Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Lori Lodes, “We need to make sure that we are very clear and explicit about [the] $695 penalty so people understand the choice they’re making.” But even that misses the point: Many of them probably figure that a $695 fine (or 2.5% of annual earnings if applicable) is far more affordable than a health care plan that, on average, cost half that per month before government aid. Meanwhile, premiums are skyrocketing nationwide, and half a dozen co-ops have utterly collapsed. “In the end, it’s just another day in the miserable life of a program that President Obama says is working better than anyone expected,” Investor’s Business Daily wryly notes. Expect it to get a lot worse before it gets better, too. Eventually, Democrats will call for overriding ObamaCare and centralizing the whole system — something the Socialists had in mind all along.

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