Remember when the uninsured in America contributed to the “fierce urgency of now” that demanded that the federal government seize control of health insurance? Only with top-down federal control of that market would those uninsured gain coverage. Since that was the case, we should expect that the new
enrollees sign-ups would tilt heavily toward the uninsured.
Early signals suggest the majority of the 2.2 million people who sought to enroll in private insurance through new marketplaces through Dec. 28 were previously covered elsewhere, raising questions about how swiftly this part of the health overhaul will be able to make a significant dent in the number of uninsured.
Insurers, brokers and consultants estimate at least two-thirds of those consumers previously bought their own coverage or were enrolled in employer-backed plans.
The data, based on surveys of enrollees, are preliminary. But insurers say the tally of newly insured consumers is falling short of their expectations, a worrying trend for an industry looking to the law to expand the ranks of its customers.
About 48 million Americans were uninsured in 2012. The health law is expected to cut 25 million from that total by expanding state-run Medicaid programs and the pool of privately insured people who buy through state marketplaces, also called exchanges.
Only 11% of consumers who bought new coverage under the law were previously uninsured, according to a McKinsey & Co. survey of consumers thought to be eligible for the health-law marketplaces. The result is based on a sampling of 4,563 consumers performed between November and January, of whom 389 had enrolled in new insurance.
Part of the difference is probably related to the actual status of the uninsured. Most of them were uninsured by choice or uninsured in transition, according to US Census Bureau data available in 2009. The estimate of those uninsured by economic circumstances and not covered by Medicaid was 14 million at most. That was about 5% of the American population, rather than the 16% assumed in the 48 million number.
When seen from that perspective, 11% looks a little like overperformance — if we see these as final numbers. But of course, they’re not the final figures, but the people who first came into the system. One would expect that the 14 million previously uninsured would have either enrolled right away in either the Medicaid expansion or the Healthcare.gov system. Instead, we’re at 2.2 million for private insurance sign-ups (not confirmed enrollments), and 3.9 million enrolling in Medicaid over the last quarter, which may or may not be too far off the regular pace of enrollments.
What we definitely aren’t seeing is a mad rush for government-run health insurance, such as we’d see if the problem of the uninsured was as dire as it had been advertised to be. And what we have seen is that the government solution to lack of insurance has thrown more people out of their existing insurance than it has solved the problems of the uninsured by a very wide margin. It’s yet another facet of this disaster that has become painfully obvious to anyone paying attention.
By the way, for those who aren’t rushing to sign up in Healthcare.gov, what’s the main impediment? A majority of 52% say … affordability. Wasn’t that supposed to be the point behind the Affordable Care Act?
While we muse on that, let’s also ask this question: Were there no American firms who could rescue what the Obama administration screwed up?
President Obama spent $831 billion of taxpayer money on a stimulus plan for the economy. He gave nearly $50 billion in aid to GM to keep it afloat. He lost $500 million on energy company Solyndra. All in the name of saving jobs.
Yet when it comes to his own signature initiative, the president doesn’t care about American workers. He’s outsourced ObamaCare.
After the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov, the administration hired Accenture as the new lead contractor. The deal is estimated to be worth $90 million and is now in the hands of the poster boy for global labor arbitrage and offshore tax havens.
Accenture has 80,000 Indian workers, 35,000 in the Philippines and only 40,000 in the United States. Over 40 percent of their worth comes from outsourcing. In all probability, the tech jobs awarded under this contract and paid for with US tax dollars are going abroad.
“In all probability” doesn’t mean “confirmed.” This is conjecture, but conjecture based on numbers. Besides, this is the very thing for which Team Obama attacked Mitt Romney in 2012, is it not?