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Obamacare numbers coming in huge: Here's a guide to GOP excuse-making

chubascochubasco Posts: 18,390 Officer
By Michael Hiltzik
March 31, 2014, 1:36 p.m.

Against all odds and expectations, enrollments in health plans qualified under the Affordable Care Act are surging Monday toward -- and maybe beyond -- the 7-million figure projected by the Congressional Budget Office before Oct. 1, when the open-enrollment period began. The deadline for starting enrollment applications for 2014 plans is midnight Monday.

The surge is creating a big problem for the "train wreck" narrative of Republican opponents of the ACA, who have been holding out hope for Obamacare's utter failure. So the excuse-making has begun.


Before we examine those excuses: You will recall that the budget office reduced its projection of enrollments on individual insurance exchanges to 6 million earlier this year to account for the botched launch of healthcare.gov, the federal enrollment website. Enrollments blew past that mark days ago. If exchange enrollments meet or exceed the original projection of 7 million despite the loss of some six weeks in website functionality in October and November, that would be a testament to the public's latent desire for effective healthcare coverage.



We won't know the final March 31 tally for days, possibly weeks, but that indispensable enrollment tracker Charles Gaba is projecting 6.78 million exchange enrollments, with a chance of topping 7 million.

That figure covers enrollments in private healthcare plans via healthcare.gov and the individual websites offered by 14 states and the District of Columbia. As my colleague Noam Levey is reporting, the Rand Corp. estimates that another 4.5 million previously uninsured adults have signed up for Medicaid in states that expanded that program under the ACA. And about 3 million young adults have obtained coverage through an ACA provision allowing them to stay on their parents' employer plans until age 26.

For Obamacare critics, consequently, the enrollment numbers demand debunking. Here's a bestiary of their arguments for why the figures shouldn't be believed, and explanations of why they're off-base.

"How many have paid?" (Also known as "The statistics are full of deadbeats"): We examined this argument a few days ago. We observed that the concern is probably exaggerated and certainly premature, since many people who enrolled late in the cycle, including those in the March surge, may not have payments due for as much as six weeks after enrollment. Many haven't even received their first monthly premium bill yet.

Figures from states that track this metric, including California and Vermont, show that 85% to 90% of enrollees have paid on time, which secures them the coverage they applied for.

"Most of them were already insured": The argument here is that if we've just moved people from one insurance plan to another, we've just been wasting Americans' time and subjecting them to an onerous bureaucratic procedure as well.

The claim is based primarily on a survey in January from McKinsey and Co., which concluded that only 11% of exchange enrollees had been previously uninsured. A McKinsey survey a month later raised that figure to 27% -- still low, compared to expectations.

The major problem with the McKinsey survey is that doesn't say what its hawkers claim. The survey combines on-exchange enrollments and off-exchange enrollments; the latter are likely to heavily skew figures toward the previously insured because those are people merely signing up again with their existing carriers. The goal of the exchange marketplaces, however, is to reach uninsured Americans, and the McKinsey surveys fail to do that.

The few states that do break out their own numbers, moreover, contradict McKinsey. Kentucky says that some 75% of its exchange enrollees were previously uninsured. New York says that about 60% of its exchange enrollees were previously uninsured. That number has been rising over time, raising the prospect that the March surge will include an even higher ratio of uninsured customers; Gaba, who has calculated a time series of New York enrollments based on the state's monthly news releases, calculates that of enrollees in mid-February, at least 92% had been uninsured.

"'Young invincibles' aren't signing up": This is related to the oft-mentioned threat of a "death spiral" in the insurance market -- if the enrollees are predominantly older and sicker consumers, they'll drive up premiums, which will discourage younger and healthier people from enrolling, which drives up premiums, which discourages, the young, etc., etc.

Federal officials have set an informal target of 40% of enrollments in the 18-34 age range. The latest figures from various states put the enrollment rate at the mid-20% level. But it was always expected that younger people would be among the last to enroll, and reports from the states suggest that's happening.

Even if the statistics remain fixed in the mid-20s, however, the death spiral won't be happening. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that even if the young enrolled at only 50% of expected levels, premiums for 2015 would have to be raised a couple of percentage points. That's nowhere near enough to set off a death spiral.

Moreover, as we explained way back in October, the ACA has a corrective to the death spiral written in. It's called risk adjustment, and it works by paying a subsidy to insurance companies that end up with older or sicker customer bases than they anticipated. The money comes from payments made by carriers that end up with favorable customer profiles. Republicans know this arrangement will keep Obamacare stable. How do we know? Because in a majestically cynical move spearheaded by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., they tried late last year to kill it, calling it an insurance "bailout."

"More people got cancellations than signed up"
: The numbers never supported this claim, and the latest estimates make it even more of a fantasy. It's based on the wave of reports late last year of insurance companies canceling old policies that didn't meet ACA standards, which led to hysterical claims that as many as 17 million Americans were being left uninsured.

Rand's figures support earlier estimates that fewer than 1 million people who had health plans in 2013 are now uninsured because of cancellations. Insurance companies that issued the cancellation notices say they've retained "the vast majority" of their old customers, mostly by moving them into new, compliant, plans.

"The White House is 'cooking the books'": This is the last refuge of scoundrels like Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who made the claim this weekend on Fox News Sunday while the slack-jawed host, Chris Wallace, sat silently by.

What makes this claim particularly fatuous is that the most encouraging figures don't come from the federal government at all, but from states with their own enrollment programs. The eight states with the best records of signing up their eligible citizens in exchange plans (actually seven states and D.C.), all have their own exchanges and websites. Vermont leads the parade at 83% enrolled. California, which leads all states in number of exchange enrollees at more than 1 million, ranks fourth with a 41% outreach rate.

If the feds are cooking the books, they've cooked them to look worse, not better -- the 36 states that dumped their enrollment responsibilities on the federal government are clustered at the bottom of the list, most of them with enrollment rates of 20% or less of eligible citizens. Many of these are states that actively discouraged or interfered with enrollments of their citizens in health insurance plans -- behavior that should be grounds for impeachment or recall of their governors and legislators.

Of course, even the enrollment of 7 million Americans in ACA exchanges doesn't mean Obamacare is a certified success. There's a lot of work to be done to fix the inevitable flaws in any law as far-reaching as this one. As Noam Levey reported, it amounts to the largest expansion of health coverage for Americans since the enactment of Medicare half a century ago, but many more people need to be signed up in coming years.

The apparent success of the first annual open enrollment period, however, should show Republican naysayers that this law is here to stay, with all its customer-protection provisions intact. It's time they recognized that the rhetoric about Obamacare's failure has gotten them nowhere. It's gotten the country nowhere. It's time for them to get behind the law, to help get their fellow citizens the coverage they need, and to help fix what needs to be fixed.

http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-79776284/
Chubasco.jpg
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Replies

  • gunby31gunby31 Posts: 5,777 Officer
    "It's working"

    That would be my "hot button" if I were running as a dem in Nov.
  • guido4198guido4198 Posts: 2,247 Captain
    "COMING IN HUGE"...!!!!!!!!!!
    :rotflmao:rotflmao:rotflmao

    When somebody BESIDES an "in-the-tank" left-wing rag like the L.A. Times touts the success of the AHCA....Get back to us OK..??
  • NewberryJeffNewberryJeff Posts: 7,447 Admiral
    Make a law that mandates Obamacare
    Set a deadline
    Call it "huge" when a million or two people sign up last minute

    These people must be simply amazed at tax time.
  • LonghaulLonghaul Posts: 1,745 Officer
    The young people,the ones who will take it in the wallet for this mess are not signing up. They will wait to see how bad the govt nails they're pay checks. Then when they cry Obama will extend the fines for 10 more yrs. He will just rob SS for the money. Lord it will be nice when he leaves the White House and we can change the sheets.
  • NewberryJeffNewberryJeff Posts: 7,447 Admiral
    Longhaul wrote: »
    The young people,the ones who will take it in the wallet for this mess are not signing up. They will wait to see how bad the govt nails they're pay checks. Then when they cry Obama will extend the fines for 10 more yrs. He will just rob SS for the money. Lord it will be nice when he leaves the White House and we can change the sheets.

    He doesn't have the house and will lose the senate, there will be no way to hide the losses, even with the insurance corridors (tax payer bailout).
  • LouieLouieLouieLouie Posts: 2,702 Officer
    chubasco wrote: »
    13549631625_37a08f9817_o.jpg



    And you double-down with a quote from Krugman via MediaMatters.org? :Spittingcoffee
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] I want to offer thanks the "FS Forum Powers That Be" for giving me the opportunity to see the light and makes changes from my past... The knowledge and awareness I have gained during the last few months of BannedCation has helped changed my life... I will strive to continue in the right, I mean LEFT direction... Thank You.
  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Posts: 24,415 AG
    guido4198 wrote: »
    "COMING IN HUGE"...!!!!!!!!!!
    :rotflmao:rotflmao:rotflmao

    When somebody BESIDES an "in-the-tank" left-wing rag like the L.A. Times touts the success of the AHCA....Get back to us OK..??

    This.

    Hey Chubs, go find out for us how many are in the "younger" demographic that is needed to make the "sef-supporting" cost model work.

    While you are there asking, ask where my $2,500 cost savings is and why I had to change insurance companies and ask why my insurance bill isn't less than my cell phone bill, as promised.

    TYVM, I will wait for you to post the answers when you get them.
  • cprcpr Posts: 9,309 Admiral
    What happens to the millions who sign up and don't pay their premiums and even send in the first payment?
    "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F. Scott Fitzgerald

    "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." Niels Bohr
  • gunby31gunby31 Posts: 5,777 Officer
    LouieLouie wrote: »
    And you double-down with a quote from Krugman via MediaMatters.org? :Spittingcoffee

    Whatever.

    Let's just hope the GOP continues to be in denial and doubles down on Obamacare being a failure. Talk about being delusional. Then again, history is only repeating itself with the rwnj's.
  • gunby31gunby31 Posts: 5,777 Officer
    cpr wrote: »
    What happens to the millions who sign up and don't pay their premiums and even send in the first payment?

    What if? What if? Maybe this, maybe that.

    We've been hearing this crap for the last 4 years.

    "It's working"... deal with it.
  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Posts: 24,415 AG
    gunby31 wrote: »
    "It's working"... deal with it.


    What's working, exactly? The website? Nope, it has been crashing again. Getting people signed up? Are the people signing givers or takers? Seems the folks signing are being subsidized and not paying. How is getting the young people to sign on working out? Not so well.
  • LouieLouieLouieLouie Posts: 2,702 Officer
    Yep, everything is looking A-OK:
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] I want to offer thanks the "FS Forum Powers That Be" for giving me the opportunity to see the light and makes changes from my past... The knowledge and awareness I have gained during the last few months of BannedCation has helped changed my life... I will strive to continue in the right, I mean LEFT direction... Thank You.
  • cprcpr Posts: 9,309 Admiral
    gunby31 wrote: »
    What if? What if? Maybe this, maybe that.

    We've been hearing this crap for the last 4 years.

    "It's working"... deal with it.

    What's working, are prices for coverage lower?
    Are people who signed up getting to see doctors? The answer is no.
    Are people who had insurance unable to afford insurance now? Yes.
    Nothing is working but the spin.
    "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F. Scott Fitzgerald

    "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." Niels Bohr
  • NOLE66NOLE66 Posts: 1,630 Officer
    gunby31 wrote: »
    "It's working"

    That would be my "hot button" if I were running as a dem in Nov.

    Wow, the equivalent of the population of Alabama has signed up! Uhhhh, what about the other 90%, lol.
  • FinfinderFinfinder Posts: 9,999 Admiral
    Chubs is scared about whats going to happen at the midterm elections
  • chubascochubasco Posts: 18,390 Officer
    chubasco wrote: »
    13549631625_37a08f9817_o.jpg
    LouieLouie wrote: »
    And you double-down with a quote from Krugman via MediaMatters.org? :Spittingcoffee


    Well lets look at Krugman's background:

    Paul Robin Krugman (born February 28, 1953) is an American economist, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics, and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times.[2][3] In 2008, Krugman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography. According to the prize Committee, the prize was given for Krugman's work explaining the patterns of international trade and the geographic concentration of wealth, by examining the effects of economies of scale and of consumer preferences for diverse goods and services.[4]

    Krugman is known in academia for his work on international economics (including trade theory, economic geography, and international finance),[5][6] liquidity traps, and currency crises. Krugman is ranked among the most influential economic thinkers in the US.[7]

    As of 2008, Krugman has written 20 books and has published over 200 scholarly articles in professional journals and edited volumes.[8] He has also written more than 750 columns on economic and political issues for The New York Times, Fortune and Slate.

    As a commentator, Krugman has written on a wide range of economic issues including income distribution, taxation, macroeconomics and international economics. Krugman considers himself a liberal, calling one of his books and his New York Times blog The Conscience of a Liberal.[9] His popular commentary has attracted considerable comment, both positive and negative.[10]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Krugman


    Now, lets compare that to the TOTAL IDIOT that puts out the signs you love to post up and even have in your signature. Other than reselling Mexican chum does he have any else to his credit that makes him anything other than the joke of this forum?
    Chubasco.jpg
  • fins4mefins4me Posts: 14,487 AG
    Oh BOY!!!! more takers robbing from the makers.. Celebrate....
    ALLISON XB 21,, MERCURY 300 Opti Max Pro Series (Slightly Modified) You can't catch me!!!
    "Today is MINE"
  • LouieLouieLouieLouie Posts: 2,702 Officer
    Defending Krugman again? REALLY? With Wikipedia? REALLY?

    He's consistently the laughing stock of the financial world!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] I want to offer thanks the "FS Forum Powers That Be" for giving me the opportunity to see the light and makes changes from my past... The knowledge and awareness I have gained during the last few months of BannedCation has helped changed my life... I will strive to continue in the right, I mean LEFT direction... Thank You.
  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Posts: 24,415 AG
    There are only two things you need to know about Paul Krugman, Chubs.

    1. He believes in Keynesian economic theory, and
    2. He is the chief economic excuse maker for all things liberal (please see "1.")
  • kayakjoekayakjoe Posts: 812 Officer
    my personal opinion is that it is a trainwreck but i will not change anyones mind here that thinks it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
    I do know that my BC/BS policy, which I liked, which was one of their better plans was cancelled. Our BC/BS rep visited our office two weeks ago. He informed us that due to ACA our current plan was being cancelled. We were given a list of plans to replace it with. The plan that is closest in coverage to my previous plan costs right at $300 more per month for my family of 5. Our copays for office visits and hospital in particular have increased. Our out of pocket expenses will be higher. So despite the pledge and promise of our president I cannot keep the plan I had that I liked, it is not saving me money and it costs more than my cell phone and more than my previous plan. Land of liberty and freedom my ****.
    Always strive to never let your irresponsibility become someone else's responsibility
    once we worry more about our obligations and responsbilities and less about our rights and privileges the better things will be

    search?q=ron+paul&view=detail&id=84496DDE8E08910A94413612B2779B745F2B8E58&first=0&FORM=IDFRIR
  • CaptBobBryantCaptBobBryant Posts: 5,716 Officer
    I don't get all the crowing.....about 7 million signing up for ACA
    What's the big deal....
    It is equivalent to saying 2% of drivers went and got a driver's licensed...

    They passed a law (good or bad) and Americans as a whole tend to want to be law abiding...so surely they would sign up....

    The real success or failure will come in when the numbers are analyzed:
    How many paid?
    How many were part of the 5 million who lost their insurance?
    How many are between the ages of 18 and 35 (and healthy)?
    How many ended up with Medicaid?

    The fact that they hit some magic number pulled out of their......(thin air) is meaningless....
    National Association of Recreational Anglers - Add Your Voice
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  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    It may have its flaws (being modeled after an old republican plan :blowkiss) but it is much much better than the new republican plan because they don't have a plan.
  • White DogWhite Dog Posts: 5,343 Officer
    The illegal paralegal is deathly afraid of what he will have to 'cop to' after November. Watch the obama fraud machine come alive this November. They will try like hell to get the illegals voting en-mass.
    The White Dog.........R.I.P..........1996 - June 2nd, 2011
  • cprcpr Posts: 9,309 Admiral
    Cyclist wrote: »
    It may have its flaws (being modeled after an old republican plan :blowkiss) but it is much much better than the new republican plan because they don't have a plan.

    It cost the consumer more for less coverage. It's a bad law and plan.
    "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F. Scott Fitzgerald

    "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." Niels Bohr
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    cpr wrote: »
    It cost the consumer more for less coverage. It's a bad law and plan.

    Well, that is not what I have seen or read.
  • White DogWhite Dog Posts: 5,343 Officer
    Cyclist wrote: »
    Well, that is not what I have seen or read.

    That's because it's so dark up there.
    The White Dog.........R.I.P..........1996 - June 2nd, 2011
  • FinfinderFinfinder Posts: 9,999 Admiral
    Cyclist wrote: »
    It may have its flaws (being modeled after an old republican plan :blowkiss) but it is much much better than the new republican plan because they don't have a plan.

    excuses and no apologies for lying and cheating the American people ( the middle class) .........libs repeat these lies so often they believe them to be true
  • Conchy CrackerConchy Cracker Posts: 10,454 Officer
    kayakjoe wrote: »
    my personal opinion is that it is a trainwreck but i will not change anyones mind here that thinks it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
    I do know that my BC/BS policy, which I liked, which was one of their better plans was cancelled. Our BC/BS rep visited our office two weeks ago. He informed us that due to ACA our current plan was being cancelled. We were given a list of plans to replace it with. The plan that is closest in coverage to my previous plan costs right at $300 more per month for my family of 5. Our copays for office visits and hospital in particular have increased. Our out of pocket expenses will be higher. So despite the pledge and promise of our president I cannot keep the plan I had that I liked, it is not saving me money and it costs more than my cell phone and more than my previous plan. Land of liberty and freedom my ****.

    I read this a few times. Let me get this right... Your health insurance plan for 5 people costs more than your cell phone bill?
  • kayakjoekayakjoe Posts: 812 Officer
    I read this a few times. Let me get this right... Your health insurance plan for 5 people costs more than your cell phone bill?

    really...you are gonna be so freakin obtuse and focus on that?? dont be a richard cranium. of course it costs more than a cell phone bil overall.l. when you break down the costs per child, each one of them individually is more than my family plan cell phone bill. what was lost on you was the obvious jab at all the promises your dear leader made that are not true
    Always strive to never let your irresponsibility become someone else's responsibility
    once we worry more about our obligations and responsbilities and less about our rights and privileges the better things will be

    search?q=ron+paul&view=detail&id=84496DDE8E08910A94413612B2779B745F2B8E58&first=0&FORM=IDFRIR
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