[guest post by JVW]
This past spring and summer saw progressives giddy with triumph concerning the alleged success of ObamaCare in enrolling new customers. From academics to the usual interest groups to the President himself, we were deluged with stories about all the wonderful things that the Health Care Act had done for the country. With Chief Justice Roberts’ majority opinion in the King vs. Burwell case seeming to settle the issue of the bill’s legality, those who remained skeptical of the ability of the government to efficiently manage health policy in a nation of 330 million people were told to “get over it,” even by some on our own side.
But, as the saying goes, that was then. Yesterday’s Washington Post contained an interesting piece informing us that roughly a quarter of the people who chose a health plan this year through ObamaCare have since stopped paying for it. Of 12.7 million people who took out a plan in 2015, only 9.9 million were continuing to make payments by the end of June. This drop-off is significant numerically, and does not bode well for the big push coming next year as explained by the author:
For next year, congressional budget analysts are estimating that 21 million Americans will have health insurance through the exchanges — more than double the enrollment now.
Many health policy experts think that, in the two years since the marketplaces opened, they already have attracted the people who are easiest to enroll. Elizabeth Carpenter, a vice president of the consulting firm Avalere Health, said that the Congressional Budget Office has been assuming that sign-ups for 2016 will surge, because financial penalties will increase under a part of the law that requires most Americans to carry health insurance.
“The question is,” Carpenter said, “given where we are today, should we expect a slower ramp-up?”
Couple that with the expected rise in premiums forecast for next year which is once again likely to outpace the rise in family income, and 2016 could be a very important year for the future of government-managed health care, even apart from the matter of which party does well in the fall elections.
Addendum: Hat tip to Powerline for the link to the WaPo story.