Saturday, October 17, 2015

Last Call For McObtuse

The administration is expecting barely any increase in enrollment in Obamacare next year. The forecast is for enrollment of only 10 million, just a smidge higher than the 9.9 million currently enrolled.

If enrollment growth has truly stalled out, that would be big news. The Congressional Budget Office had originally forecast that 22 million people would enroll in the exchanges in 2016. Some of this disparity may be because fewer employers are “dumping” employees onto the exchanges, but at best this could account for less than half of the shortfall. Mostly, this represents people who were expected to sign up declining to do so.

Of course, the Obama administration's estimate could be a lowball. After the embarrassing performance when Obamacare began, officials have tended to underpromise, enabling them to trumpet a nice “upside surprise” when they tell the public about enrollment.

Still, even if there is an upside surprise, it’s more likely to be on the order of a million or so than the missing 12 million people who were expected to be on the exchanges. What should we take from this?

She goes through a lot of factors, but finally arrives at the real answer at the end of her piece.

Obamacare has undoubtedly produced a large drop in the number of uninsured. But if the administration is correct, then that decline will be less than half of what was originally expected, both because of the underenrollment in exchange policies and because so many states didn’t expand their Medicaid programs. The program may be shaping up as a modest expansion of Medicaid, coupled with a more robust version of the old high-risk pools.

What's this, Megan?

You mean millions of people who could have had heath insurance continue to be denied because Republicans made sure that the program doesn't work in their states and sabotaged the risk-pool programs that were meant to help cushion the transition?

Imagine that.

It's really saying something that even McMegan admits that Republican sabotage may in fact be contributing to why 12 million expected people aren't on insurance exchanges, especially when she complains that insurance is all about the Law of Large Numbers.  When you deny large numbers of people access to the program, the risk isn't spread out as much.

Amazing how that works.  What even more amazing is how McArdle gets paid to write this stupidity.

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