Conservative healthcare connector and wonk Robert Laszewski on the failure of Obamacare:
On Thursday, the Obama administration said they expect to have 10 million people enrolled on the Obamacare insurance exchanges in 2016. They further said they expect to sign-up only one in four of those still uninsured and eligible during the 2016 open enrollment scheduled to begin on November 1.
These are astonishing admissions.
In 2013 the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the Obamacare insurance exchanges would enroll an average of 22 million people during 2016.
Given the original expectations how can we now not say this program is a terrible failure?
Note how he elides Medicaid expansion as a means of coverage and collapses all of PPACA to the Exchanges. This rhetorical trick is a kissing cousin of the discussion about total tax burden by income decile collapsing into a discussion of top marginal federal income tax rates by income decile.
Kevin Drum on the success of Obamacare:
In 2010, just after Obamacare passed, CBO estimated that the uninsured rate would hit 8 percent by 2016. This was based on the original law, but in 2012 the Supreme Court made Medicaid expansion voluntary and most red states opted out. In July CBO updated its projections to account for this, increasing its estimate of uninsured by three percentage points. The next CBO estimate thus projected that the uninsured rate would be 11 percent by 2016. So how does that compare to reality? In its most recent survey, the CDC estimates that in the first quarter of 2015 the actual number of uninsured clocked in at 10.7 percent, and that’s likely to decline to about 10 percent or so by the end of 2016.
In other words, once you clear away all the underbrush it looks like Obamacare is meeting or beating its goals.
The overall objective of PPACA is to reduce the uninsurance rate while at least reducing if not eliminating medical cost growth over the general rate of economic growth in the country.
The Exchanges are seeing less people because a lot more people are still on Employer Sponsored Coverage (ESI). The CBO originally projected that quite a few employers would eat the employee mandate penalty and dump ESI coverage to send their employees onto the Exchanges. That has not happened. PPACA is less disruptive than originally projected while still meeting or slightly beating its goals.