WaPo suddenly discovers ObamaCare costs more, helps fewer than predicted

posted at 1:00 pm on December 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The failure of ObamaCare’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan has been known for weeks, at least to readers of the Wall Street Journal and Hot Air.   The Washington Post catches up to the WSJ a mere 45 days later with this report from Amy Goldstein on the failure of PECIP to attract the 375,000 people the White House and Congress claimed needed the help of subsidies to get health-care coverage.  Even with the program falling 97% short of its stated goal, it’s still going to cost more than Congress allocated anyway:

An early feature of the new health-care law that allows people who are already sick to get insurance to cover their medical costs isn’t attracting as many customers as expected.

Er, that’s a rather strange understatement.  The announced expectations was that it would attract 375,000 people by the end of the year.  It has only 8,000 enrollees, which means it missed its mark by 97.9%.  If any other major and controversial government program missed its delivery goals by 97.9%, would the Post report it in such anodyne terms?  For instance, if 97.9% of a military-weapons system failed to get delivered on time, how would the Post report that?  I doubt that the opening paragraph would be that “the Pentagon didn’t get as many artillery weapons as expected.”

In the meantime, in at least a few states, claims for medical care covered by the “high-risk pools” are proving very costly, and it is an open question whether the $5 billion allotted by Congress to start up the plans will be sufficient. …

In the spring, the Medicare program’s chief actuary predicted that 375,000 people would sign up for the pool plans by the end of the year. Early last month, the Health and Human Services Department reported that just 8,000 people had enrolled. HHS officials declined to provide an update, although they collect such figures monthly, because they have decided to report them on a quarterly basis.

“Like the rest of the country, we thought we’d have pretty much a stampede. That obviously hasn’t materialized,” said Michael Keough, executive director of North Carolina’s plan. With nearly 700 participants, it is among the nation’s largest so far, but it has one-third of the people expected by now.

It’s important to remember that the $5 billion allocated to PECIP was based on … nothing at all.  Congress had no real evaluation of cost; they picked a number to get the bill passed while pretending that it wouldn’t increase deficits.  The Medicare actuaries predicted that the $5 billion, which was supposed to float PECIP for five years, would run out at the end of oneHHS admitted that they had no idea how much PECIP would cost.  And instead of acting as a buffer for those turned down by insurance companies for their pre-existing conditions, the government might have to act just like an insurer by keeping sick people out of the pool.

So, as I wrote earlier, we have

revamped one-sixth of the American economy, created new federal mandates, and created chaos in system that worked for the vast majority of Americans, just to deal with eight thousand people?  Perhaps they should have tested the issue by creating the program separately first and determining whether the demand required a complete overhaul of a health-care system that mainly worked for the rest of us, instead of arrogating to themselves the task of dictating the shape of a market they clearly don’t understand.

Nice to see that the Post has caught up to the news more than six weeks later, and brought its wiffle bat to underscore its seriousness.


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Hmmm Government Health Care costs more than thought! Who would have ever thought that!///

upinak on December 28, 2010 at 1:03 PM

If military enlistments had failed this badly the leftist media would be shouting it from the rooftops. WaPo might as well try to hide the effects of a hurricane.

Bishop on December 28, 2010 at 1:03 PM

and bringing its wiffle bat to underscore its seriousness.

Ah…wiffle ball…small joy of childhood.

ladyingray on December 28, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Ah…wiffle ball…small joy of childhood.

ladyingray on December 28, 2010 at 1:03 PM

well, when it comes to Mom Jeans throwing a ball… wiffle ball is about all he can handle.

upinak on December 28, 2010 at 1:06 PM

As per usual, WaPo bringing a wiffle bat to a gun fight…..

search4truth on December 28, 2010 at 1:07 PM

“It’s important to remember that the $5 billion allocated to PECIP was based on … nothing at all.”

It really is time to defund the whole kitten-kaboodle…

… send all the bureaucrats home, and start from scratch.

They can get jobs shoveling snow…

Seven Percent Solution on December 28, 2010 at 1:07 PM

costs more, helps fewer than predicted

This description fits most government programs.

rukiddingme on December 28, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Obviously the problem is inadequate funding.

greggriffith on December 28, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Ed, it greatly offends me that you call the socialized takeover and destruction of our healthcare system ObamaCare.

NotCoach on December 28, 2010 at 1:09 PM

where’s my 3000% savings?…/

ted c on December 28, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Meanwhile, just down the street at News-Weak headquarters, resident gasbag Eleanor Clift continues to delude her readers by saying that anyone who says that any of Obama’s policies (Obamacare included) are a dismal failure is a LI-AR!!!!!!

That being said, Welcome To The Liars Club, WaPo!

pilamaye on December 28, 2010 at 1:09 PM

These people are nothing but clowns. The only thing more clownish are the brain dead fools that keep them in office.

I expect some of our resident clowns to show up to defend Obamba’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Welfare Plan any minute now.

BigWyo on December 28, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Hmmmm, let’s see that means that an anticipated 367,000 people with pre-existing conditions are choosing to forego coming up with the out of pocket costs for ObamaCare insurance until they actually need the healthcare. Who’da thunk it?

txmomof6 on December 28, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Could it be that this health care insurance is too expensive and that is the reason why people are not signing up for it?

Has it ever been reported what insurance costs when it has to cover a pre-existing condition? What’s the price tag?

Skandia Recluse on December 28, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Well, give the WaPo credit. New York Times readers won’t be hearing about this information in their paper until after the 2012 election…

jon1979 on December 28, 2010 at 1:14 PM

I don’t care what the WaPo “reports” so long as they don’t mind that I don’t read it.

Akzed on December 28, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Maybe, it just wasn’t explained explained clearly enough…/

Fallon on December 28, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Can’t wait to see Cruella DeVille in front of the Congressional hearings…

d1carter on December 28, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Sort of O/T, from the debt article on Drudge that sort of explains alot:

“During the Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) tenure as speaker, which commenced on Jan. 4, 2007, the federal government has run up $5.177 trillion in new debt. That is about equal to the total debt the federal government accumulated in the first 220 years of the nation’s existence, with the federal debt rising from $5.173 trillion on July 23, 1996 to $5.181 trillion on July 24, 1996.”

Democrats simply don’t care about debt, to them it is just another number.

Johnnyreb on December 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Well, give the WaPo credit. New York Times readers won’t be hearing about this information in their paper until after the 2012 election…

jon1979 on December 28, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Probably longer than that-if the NYT bothers to “report” it at all.

Back in March of 1991, the Fed released data confirming that the economic recovery had begun. The Times didn’t get around to reporting that Inconvenient Truth until…1999.

Del Dolemonte on December 28, 2010 at 1:24 PM

this is what you get with a rigid 70 year old ideology and a few sad anecdotes

r keller on December 28, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Democrats simply don’t care about debt the little people, to them it is just another number about more power for themselves.

Johnnyreb on December 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Took a little liberty with your excellent comment to make it more appropriate. :)

search4truth on December 28, 2010 at 1:26 PM

If military enlistments had failed this badly the leftist media would be shouting cheering about it from the rooftops.

Bishop on December 28, 2010 at 1:03 PM

FIFY

dmh0667 on December 28, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Krauthammer: We shouldn’t defund ObamaCare

WaPo suddenly discovers ObamaCare costs more, helps fewer than predicted

Coming Soon:

WaPo suddenly discovers Charles Krauthammer costs more, convinces fewer than predicted

Emperor Norton on December 28, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Skandia Recluse on December 28, 2010 at 1:13 PM

That’s what I’m interested in as well. How much does the monthly premium cost? Clearly, the price tag was prohibitive for the uninsured.

Since it’s possible to defund programs that don’t work and are way too expensive like Obamacare, when will we defund Barry?

anXdem on December 28, 2010 at 1:32 PM

WaPo to Ed and public..generally:

“We have already reported on the shortcomings of the Health Care Reform Act. Lets move on. Have you our story about Sarah Palin and the S’Mores scandal? Creepy.”

BobMbx on December 28, 2010 at 1:34 PM

where’s my 3000% savings?…/

ted c on December 28, 2010 at 1:09 PM

In your ObamaVille back yard tethered to your rainbow colored unicorn that poops out skittles. No lollipops though.. they have sugar in them.

Key West Reader on December 28, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Thanks for writing, “Wiffle Bat”, Ed. Off topic but it brings back great memories of long gone summer afternoons.

Mason on December 28, 2010 at 1:36 PM

If any other major and controversial government program missed its delivery goals by 97.9%, would the Post report it in such anodyne terms?

They would say it was underfunded and needs an immediate infusion of tax dollars.

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Has it ever been reported what insurance costs when it has to cover a pre-existing condition? What’s the price tag?

Skandia Recluse on December 28, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Here are some circumstantial facts that I invite you to consider:

1. They didn’t have any data to support the $5 billion to create the program.

2. The number of people actually using the system is 97% less than predicted.

Draw your own conclusions, but I have concluded the Obama-ites just made it all up because it played well in Peoria.

Now, let me eat cake.

BobMbx on December 28, 2010 at 1:39 PM

And it will help pay down the deficit. Just ask McCaskill who was blistered at her town hall. One question for San Fran Nan- now that it’s been out there fof a while, what was in it that we are all supposed to be excited about.

rjoco1 on December 28, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Jimbo3 hardest hit

Eren on December 28, 2010 at 1:42 PM

I remember hearing several “stories” about people with pre-existing conditions, not having health care, being dropped, or not being able to get it. Now…after this, only 8,000 sign up.

In my opinion, this means 1 of 2 things. There were so few who actually couldn’t get health care, or they didn’t enroll because they were certain that when O’care passed, they’d get it all for FREE!!!

Suckers!!! Nothing comes for free anymore. NOTHING!!! Someone always has to pay, and in this case, it will be us!

capejasmine on December 28, 2010 at 1:42 PM

They would say it was underfunded and needs an immediate infusion of tax dollars.

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Unfortunately, you’re right.

capejasmine on December 28, 2010 at 1:43 PM

And it will help pay down the deficit. Just ask McCaskill who was blistered at her town hall. One question for San Fran Nan- now that it’s been out there fof a while, what was in it that we are all supposed to be excited about.

rjoco1 on December 28, 2010 at 1:40 PM

What she actually meant was that the bill would have to be passed so that she could find out whats in it.

Keep in mind this is a woman (a liberal application of the word) who believes the Dems won a great victory in Nov.

BobMbx on December 28, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Keep in mind this is a woman (a liberal application of the word) who believes the Dems won a great victory in Nov.

BobMbx on December 28, 2010 at 1:43 PM

The dust bunnies prance around in that empty echo chamber she calls a head.

capejasmine on December 28, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Several people have asked about the cost of this insurance. Can’t speak for eveywhere else, but here’s the info for SC.

For the 80/80 plan for a person 55 to 59, the MONTHLY premium is $1,842. The plan contains a $500 deductible and pays 80% of charges after deductible and 100% after $1,500 out of pocket limit is reached.

For High Deductible plan, the MONTHLY premium is $1,063. This plan has $,1500 deductible and $5,000 out of pocket limit. The same 80/100 percentages apply.

There are various restrictions on who can apply. There are also restrictions on when pre-existing conditions would be covered. For example, if you “reasonably” should have known you had an illness during the six months before you signed up, then your illness is not covered until after six months of coverage have passed.

So, it looks to me like people are making a reasonable choice. Don’t pay the $1,000 or $1,8000 premiums until you become ill. Bet that your illness once discovered is covered as a pre-existing illness. If not, plan to pay for treatment out of pocket until coverage kicks in. Depending on what your illness is (or will be) it is a rational decision.

Cecil on December 28, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Hmmm Government Health Care costs more than thought! Who would have ever thought that!///

upinak on December 28, 2010 at 1:03 PM

To be accurate, government health care (actual full-blown British/Canuckistani style)is quite cheap. What isn’t cheap is the free lunch style Obama health care. All part of the plan though, just a stepping stone to the left’s beloved rationed, and as a result cheaper, national health care.

jarodea on December 28, 2010 at 1:55 PM

All part of the plan though, just a stepping stone to the left’s beloved rationed, and as a result cheaper, national health care.

jarodea on December 28, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Well sure. If I controlled all the food and only gave you a cup of beans and two slices of bread everyday, feeding everyone would be cheap.

darwin on December 28, 2010 at 1:58 PM

8000 people signed up and they are concerned $5 billion is not enough? There is no way they could have afforded the 375,000 they expected to sign up. What idiots we have taking our money for their schemes.

bopbottle on December 28, 2010 at 1:59 PM

well, when it comes to Mom Jeans throwing a ball… wiffle ball is about all he can handle.

upinak on December 28, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Damu-u-m, you may have just coined a new name for the POTUS.

Barry Wiffle Balls kind of has a nice flow to it.

Yoop on December 28, 2010 at 2:05 PM

‘welcome to the party pal’

looks like the WaPo just had a body crash on it’s hood, threw the cruiser into reverse while taking automatic weapons fire and backed her over a wall and down an embankment.

trouble at nokatomi tower folks

DrW on December 28, 2010 at 2:07 PM

‘welcome to the party pal’

DrW on December 28, 2010 at 2:07 PM

2nd that…

cmsinaz on December 28, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Sokath – his eyes uncovered!

stonemeister on December 28, 2010 at 2:21 PM

I guess we’re learning this now because the bill is passed – which means that we can read it.

The people in Washington are so much smarter than us. How can we ever live without their loving guidance?

beatcanvas on December 28, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Obama, when the walls fell.

BobMbx on December 28, 2010 at 2:32 PM

this is what you get with a rigid 70 year old ideology and a few sad anecdotes

r keller on December 28, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Socialism has been around a lot longer than that.

And I’m afraid that it’ll be around for a long time to come. There are still many people around who believe it can work, if we just keep trying, darnit!

UltimateBob on December 28, 2010 at 2:34 PM

So many stupid bast*rds, so little time to do anything about it…. if we can at all.

ultracon on December 28, 2010 at 2:41 PM

this is what you get with a rigid 70 year old ideology and a few sad anecdotes

r keller on December 28, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Socialism has been around a lot longer than that.

And I’m afraid that it’ll be around for a long time to come. There are still many people around who believe it can work, if we just keep trying, darnit!

UltimateBob on December 28, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Yes, they think if they just give it the proper name – or no name at all, it’ll work!

And hey, even if it doesn’t it gives the Oppressive-left a great deal of raw power for a time – So they don’t care if it ultimately blows up.
Besides, they had Good intentions after all.

Colbyjack on December 28, 2010 at 2:43 PM

And I’m afraid that it’ll be around for a long time to come. There are still many people around who believe it can work, if we just keep trying, darnit!

UltimateBob on December 28, 2010 at 2:34 PM

If only the government cared enough and spent enough money, then, then, it would work.

Those are the keys, a caring government and an unlimited supply of other people’s money.

Just as soon as we have those two things socialism will be a success beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

Lily on December 28, 2010 at 2:46 PM

Good thing we elected the smartest President ever. This administration, and most of the current Democratic party, is characterized by taking actions with no thought as to the effect of those actions.

hawksruleva on December 28, 2010 at 2:48 PM

If only the government cared enough and spent enough money, then, then, it would work.

Those are the keys, a caring government and an unlimited supply of other people’s money.

Just as soon as we have those two things socialism will be a success beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

Lily on December 28, 2010 at 2:46 PM

But..but… but…but… they Had GOOD INTENTIONS!

Okay, so maybe Collectivism Statism, Socialism, Progressivism, Fascism, and all the rest have been responsible for the deaths of millions and the ruin of countless others..

GOOD INTENTIONS! Makes it all better.

/Sarc.

Colbyjack on December 28, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Thanks to Hotair and other bloggers, we’ve all been well informed about just what a boondoggle this legislation was from its very inception through its passage and beyond. Wapo, apparently, would rather keep its readers in the dark, which is a huge disservice considering it affects their livelihoods. Wapo was once known as a proud and reputable service…now they’re a joke for the most part.

scalleywag on December 28, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Sokath – his eyes uncovered!

stonemeister on December 28, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Hahahahaha!

scalleywag on December 28, 2010 at 3:00 PM

ObamaCare not withstanding, I am below Medicare age and my retiree medical coverage would cost for my wife and I would be $1200/month, thus I’m forced to continue working while technically in retirement as the cost of “healthcare” available to me via my private retirement benefit is > 1/3 of my retirement income (pension).

So maybe retirement is an illusion…

Dandapani on December 28, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Well, give the WaPo credit. New York Times readers won’t be hearing about this information in their paper until after the 2012 election…

jon1979 on December 28, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Fixed that for you.

VelvetElvis on December 28, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Good thing we elected the smartest President ever. This administration, and most of the current Democratic party, is characterized by taking actions with no thought CLUE as to the effect of those actions.

hawksruleva on December 28, 2010 at 2:48 PM

More likely scenario

VelvetElvis on December 28, 2010 at 3:24 PM

I like my doctor… I can keep him, right?

/s

Khun Joe on December 28, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Can I use the word UNEXPECTEDLY?

It was only crr666 and other ObaManiacs that didn’t expect it.

barnone on December 28, 2010 at 4:07 PM

Sibelius: “I VANT DOSE PATIENTS!”

mojo on December 28, 2010 at 4:39 PM

According to a University of Maryland study that would mean that the Washington Post is just as stupid and ill-informed as Fox News viewers. :)

paulsur on December 28, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Another ‘elite intellectual’ liberal newspaper gets a dose of “reality”.

Who’d a thought all those ‘great unwashed’ were right?

GarandFan on December 28, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Next to the New York Times, the Washington Post is just another propaganda machine for the elites. Both helped push Obamacare down the country’s throat without a clue what they were doing. When you have hatemongers like Steve Cohen and Eugene Robinson as your most visible writers, you know you’re at rockbottom. Like Obama, both papers are incapable of the truth. Only lemmings with single digit IQs would believe a word they print.

volsense on December 28, 2010 at 6:15 PM

I used to line the cat’s litterbox with the New York Times and the Washington Post. The cat wouldn’t even urinate on them they are so slimey.

volsense on December 28, 2010 at 6:18 PM

HHS admitted that they had no idea how much PECIP would cost.

Ed, you’re given them to much credit. You are letting them have the assumption which says they are only trying to help the uninsured. They knew what it would cost, the destruction of the health insurance sector. They just didn’t know how much of our money it would take to get to their end. $5 Billion was just a dart board guess since they didn’t really care.

roosterman on December 28, 2010 at 6:25 PM

Hey Democrats! Is this the part where the cost curve gets bent down like Obama and ya’ll promised? Things are proceeding swimmingly. Let’s see. How can we spin this? How about “This just proves that we must have a mandate that everyone buy ObamaCare insurance or face a firing squad.” Oops. No. Make that: “…pay a fine.” Oops. No. Make that “…pay a tax.” Yeah, that’s the ticket.

stefano1 on December 28, 2010 at 9:36 PM

Well sure. If I controlled all the food and only gave you a cup of beans and two slices of bread everyday, feeding everyone would be cheap.

darwin on December 28, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Yes, exactly.

jarodea on December 28, 2010 at 11:14 PM

Is this really a surprise since they pulled the figures out of a hat or some place plopped into a chair. Also, no surprise that the CBO hasn’t changed their original estimate that Ocare would reduce the deficit. A lot of states already had a medicaid program for these people that maybe cheaper and provide more coverage that what Ocare would have provided to them. They kept the plan they had cuz they like it.

Kissmygrits on December 29, 2010 at 8:50 AM

WAPO= FAIL! This rag (WAPO) needs to carry the shame of a truly discredited outlet. Anytime this outfit is quoted or sourced, the description, “the formerly credible” should precede its name as in “the formerly credible Washington Post…”! Oh the howls this would cause!

UkiddenMe on December 29, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Did anyone expect another outcome with this idiot bill?

duff65 on December 29, 2010 at 4:17 PM