Three-fourths of ObamaCare enrollees were previously insured
posted at 2:01 pm on May 12, 2014 by Bruce McQuain
Or so says a new McKinsey survey of the numbers:
One of the principal flaws in the coverage of Obamacare’s exchange enrollment numbers to date has been that the press has not made distinctions between those who have “signed up” for Obamacare-based plans, and those who have actually paid for those plans and thereby achieved enrollment in health insurance. A new survey from McKinsey indicates that a large majority of people signing up are now paying for their coverage. This is progress for the health law. But the survey still indicates that three-fourths of enrollees were previously insured.
Of course we’ve seen the propaganda push from the White House that has claimed the numbers (8 million enrolled) mean that the law is working. As usual, the devil is in the details. If the law was designed to provide coverage to those who were uninsured, 25% of the total enrolled fitting that description is hardly indicative of that claim’s efficacy. And when you break down that 25% number, it’s even less indicative:
At most around 930,000 people have gained coverage from Obamacare’s under-26 “slacker mandate” (not 3 million, as is commonly suggested); another 3 million or so have gained coverage from the law’s expansion of Medicaid. Approximately 2.6 million previously uninsured individuals have obtained coverage through the ACA exchanges and the related off-exchange individual markets; however, the off-exchange purchases are mostly unsubsidized, and therefore can’t necessarily be credited to Obamacare.
Here’s a graphic that breaks the McKinsey survey’s results down into a more understandable form:
In reality, what the law has essentially done rearranged the burden of payment among those enrolled while really not doing much at all in terms of reaching those for whom it was supposedly designed to help:
What the exchanges appear to be doing is mainly helping people who were previously insured. If you’re 62 years old, say, and your income is $30,000, and you were paying for your own coverage before, you’re now eligible for plans that are much cheaper for you, thanks to taxpayer-funded subsidies and higher premiums for young people.
Of course that means that other people are paying more. “My old plan was canceled under Obamacare,” an exasperated Californian told me last week. “The new Obamacare plan costs twice as much, and the deductibles are higher. And yet Obama is counting me as one of his 8 million people!” But hey—at least he has maternity coverage.
And I’m sure our Californian is eternally grateful for big brother deciding for him that maternity care was an absolute necessity for which he must pay. But the point is the 8 million number remains very shaky (and that’s being kind) and it really doesn’t at all reflect what the White House would have you believe it reflects – that the law is working.