ObamaCare: Numbers to know and numbers to show
President Obama accompanied by his sidekick, Joe Biden, spiked the football in the Rose Garden when he announced that 7.1 people had enrolled in his signature health insurance scam, the Affordable Care Act.
But just saying the magic number doesn’t stop the questions about the composition and validity of the enrollees. Remember that there are numbers to know and numbers to show. And despite the numbers that the administration is showing us, we still don’t have the full story.
First and foremost, ObamaCare was touted as the way to insure all of the uninsured across America. That number has fluctuated from 30 million to as high as 50 million, depending on who you’re counting.
To force the uninsured to sign up a fine was built into the law, either $95 or 1% of your taxable income, whichever is greater. For those who meet the income standard generous subsidies were available, paid for by your fellow taxpayers.
Given all of these conditions only 7.1 million people signed up for coverage. And the administration really doesn’t know or isn’t telling how many of those already had insurance that was cancelled due to Obamacare. Some observers say that perhaps a third of the enrollees were previously ensured.
Then we have the whole question about how many have paid for their coverage. Anyone can enroll but the truth is that until they pay they don’t count. Some insurance sources say that as many as 10% to 20% have not paid.
Then we have the people who pay a couple of months but then drop the coverage due to its expense. The fact that 7.1 million enrolled doesn’t really tells us how many are legitimate users of the system.
The Obama administration and their state allies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in implementation costs. According to data compiled The Associated Press in mid-2013 from federal and state sources, at least $700 million will be spent on the national marketing campaign.
The state marketing campaigns are a mixed bag in terms of spending per capita. Mostly it divides along political lines with red states spending less and blue states more.
AP research from all 50 states shows the amount of government spending will range from a low of 46 cents per capita in Wisconsin, which has ceded responsibility for its health insurance exchange to the federal government, to $9.23 per capita in West Virginia, which opted for a state-federal partnership.
About $4.8 million in public money will be spent trying to sign up New Jersey’s 1.3 million uninsured, for example, compared to the nearly $28 million spent reaching out to Washington state’s much smaller 960,000.
The states that opted for a state-run exchange are finding that the costs were either exorbitant, wasted or both.
Maryland is one glaring example of an exchange that cost $125.5 million and now is considered unusable. For their money Maryland enrolled slightly under 50,000 people which translates to a cost of $2,500 per person. Of those, we don’t know how many actually paid their first month’s premium.
Maryland is now looking to scrap their site and start over using technology used for Connecticut’s insurance exchange. Maryland doesn’t know how much the new exchange will cost but they do know that their defective site will cost them $30.5 million for eligibility payments.
Oregon is considered Obamacare’s biggest technological disaster, costing taxpayers $170 million so far. Politico notes that Oregon’s online insurance exchange is the only state-run site where applicants still can’t buy coverage online. Instead, residents have been forced to fill out paper applications or go through call centers.
In all the Obama administration gave states at least $4.4 billion in taxpayer dollars to set up their own ObamaCare websites.
Until the administration comes clean on the breakdown of the enrollees ObamaCare will continue to generate editorials and media stories with rampant speculation.
Maybe, it’s time for the House Oversight Committee to ignore the President’s carping and conduct a full and through investigation of the program using their power to subpoena relevant documents.