Thursday, January 23, 2014

Obamacare Schadenfreude - Snow on the Ground

The weather continues cold and bright here,  struggling to get up to 20 F.  At this rate, we'll have white stuff on the lawn into mid February, or longer.  Obamacare Schadenfreude threatens to stay on the ground even longer.

Obamacare may not be substantially reducing the number of uninsured 
But out of 2.2 million signups, we may be talking about 250,000 newly insured. Combine that with Medicaid enrollments by those not previously eligible (perhaps as low as 200,000 but by no means larger than 1.9 million) and Obamacare has been responsible for reducing the uninsured population by a couple of percentage points at most. To put it another way, if 15.4 percent were uninsured before, that might improve to roughly 15.25 percent or 15.1 percent, depending on which number you want to go with. And then if you consider the number of cancellations that occurred as a result of the law, you could easily have a net increase in uninsured.

Was it worth it, given all the problems we’ve caused? What if we’d just done a public education campaign to sign up more of the already-eligible people for Medicaid, without jacking up rates and forcing so many people to change plans? It would have cost much, much less with far better returns. Even a simple Medicaid expansion with nothing else could have done that for a fraction of the cost.
Happy, insured voters are not natural democratic voters (though no doubt many do).  However, unhappy, uninsured people are natural democratic voters.  If only we could design a program to make happy insured voter into unhappy uninsured voters dependent of the government for their health care...

Continuing in that vein: Hundreds in Ohio Lose Their Doctor Due to Obamacare

Ohio is a swing state, right?  But California isn't:

“The disabled mother of two says she’s out of medication for an autoimmune disease, she’s run out of antibiotics for a painful internal infection, and the health plan she’s paid for through the Affordable Care Act keeps sending her to doctors who say they can’t treat her because they won’t take her insurance.”

“I’m out of medication,” says Kramer. “I’m sitting here with an infection and I’m out of antibiotics and the symptoms are coming back. And I have no idea when I can go to a doctor or where.”
Aetna insurance company could be forced out of the Obamacare business, according to its CEO, cites "death spiral".
Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told CNBC on Wednesday that Obamacare has failed to attract the uninsured, and he offered a scenario in which the insurance company could be forced to pull out of program.

The company will be submitting Obamacare rates for 2015 on May 15.

"Are they going to be double-digit [increases] or are we going to get beat up because they're double-digit or are we just going to have to pull out of the program?" Bertolini asked in a "Squawk Box" interview from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "Those questions can't be answered until we see the population we have today. And we really don't have a good view on that."
Jonah Goldberg asks the obvious question: So What Was The Point of Obamacare Again?
...I joked on Twitter this morning, ”They said if I voted for Mitt Romney, the ranks of the uninsured would continue to swell. And they were right!” (Every time I make that joke, I send Glenn Reynolds a quarter).

The response from some liberals in my feed boiled down to “He inherited a financial crisis!”

And that’s absolutely true. But that was a long time ago and this administration long ago declared we were in a recovery. Oh and he also blew up the entire health insurance industry in response, insisting that it was absolutely necessary not only to fix the bad economy (which was always a stretch) but to deal with the ongoing crisis of the uninsured. It turns out it did neither. It created more uninsured people than it gave insurance to. And it promises to create even more.
Blowing up the healthcare system was the point.  They don't really care if it get fixed, as long as they get control of it smoking ruins. They had to destroy the village to save it.

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