Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Megan McArdle: Is Obamacare Really an Improvement on the Status Quo?

Megan McArdle today from: Is Obamacare Really an Improvement on the Status Quo? We'll start the year with more Americans having lost their Health Insurance due to the Affordable Care Act than have gained it. And the Insurance Companies who are well aware of this disaster not keen to say so almost certainly in fear of retribution from the Feds. I can't recall anything in recent History where the Federal Government has inflicted so much damage on Americans. Really an amazing story here.
"Insurers privately tell Bob Laszewski that they think more people will have lost insurance by January 1 than the number who have signed up for Obamacare by January1.

"'I was out making some client calls this week with a number of different carriers and they know exactly how many policies they canceled and how many who reupped. And they know how many people have come in through the exchange,' says Laszewski. 'And I didn't find one of them who thought they were going to be net ahead on January 1. They all think they're going to net behind on January 1. That's where it's trending so far.'

"So far, at least 4.8 million Americans have received insurance cancellations notices, but Laszewski predicts that the total Obamacare enrollment will be less than half that number on January 1.

"'My guess is that we'll have somewhere around a million and a half people signed up for Obamacare on January 1 in the states and in,' he says. The big question then, he adds, is 'why have we gone through this whole dislocation of the American health insurance system if only a million and a half to two million buy health insurance?'"

Maybe we’ll make up some of the gap with Medicaid. But at the current pace of enrollment, it would be a big hurdle to make up all the losses. Which means that we may well start the year with fewer people insured than we had in January 2013. There’s reason to think that that may be what the administration is seeing in the latest enrollment numbers.

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