When Jay Leno left the Tonight Show on NBC, some wondered whether the show would still target the Obama administration for its satirical look at current events. At least last night, new host Jimmy Fallon provided an answer. After Barack Obama took a victory lap with the announcement of 7.1 million enrollments through the system by its March 31st deadline, Fallon responded by noting that “it’s amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory, and fine people if they don’t do it — and keep extending the deadline for months”:
If you’ve been a regular reader of this space, you know that the numbers routinely paraded by the Obama administration regarding Obamacare website sign-ups don’t tell us much about the actual number of uninsured individuals who have gained coverage. A new study from the RAND Corporation indicates that only one-third of exchange sign-ups were previously uninsured.
The RAND study hasn’t yet been published, but its contents were made available to Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times. RAND also estimates that 9 million individuals have purchased health plans directly from insurers, outside of the exchanges, but that “the vast majority of these people were previously insured.”
The RAND report appears to corroborate the work of other surveys. Earlier this month, McKinsey reported that 27 percent of those signing up for coverage on the individual market were previously uninsured.
Yesterday, the Daily Mail reported that the number might be a lot lower when taking into account who has actually paid their premiums to complete the enrollment process:
A triumphant President Barack Obama declared his signature medical insurance overhaul a success, saying it has made America’s health care system ‘a lot better.’ But buried in the 7.1 million enrollments he announced in a heavily staged Rose Garden appearance is a more unsettling reality.
Numbers from a RAND Corporation study that has been kept under wraps suggest that barely 858,000 previously uninsured Americans – nowhere near 7.1 million – have paid for new policies and joined the ranks of the insured by Monday night.
Others were already insured, including millions who lost coverage when their existing policies were suddenly cancelled because they didn’t meet Obamacare’s strict minimum requirements.
If true, that would mean that the final number of previously uninsured to successfully complete an enrollment in private health insurance would come to about 2.5% of the 40 million Democrats claimed needed ObamaCare in the first place. That number does make some sense, as ObamaCare market disruptions threw 5-6 million out of their existing plans. The 7 million figure — even if that represented total successful enrollments — would barely be break even in that context.
Small wonder Fallon was laughing, and his audience along with him.