The good news is that Mr. Obama has had his National Open Enrollment.
The bad news is that Obamacare does not seem to have delivered as advertised.
Why it was a failure is a matter for politicians to review and debate. Some blame the problems on faulty technology. Some blame the problems on a limited education budget. Some blame it on an inept White House and others blame the failure of the PPACA to solve the problem of uninsureds in America on partisan friction.
At the risk of making too much sense, I believe that all of those issues, and more, contributed to the over-all failure of “Obamacare” to enroll the 48 million uninsured Americans.
It makes no difference whether you are a Republican or a Democrat. The only thing that is true is that the problem of uninsured Americans still exists.
Although, official numbers will not be available for several weeks, preliminary numbers indicate that 4.4 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid during the National Open Enrollment. That number includes new enrollees as well as those who were already in the Medicaid system and just renewing. Unfortunately, it is not likely that America will ever know how many new “uninsureds” enrolled in Medicaid and how many were already insured and just renewed their registration with Medicaid.
We will have a clearer picture of how effective “Obamacare” was when the official numbers are made available for the government-run exchanges.
Please keep in mind that when Pelossi, Reid and Obama forced the PPACA on America, they claimed that the legislation would solve the problems of 48 million uninsured Americans.
Here are the unofficial numbers that I have seen.
As of March 26 more than 6 million Americans had enrolled through a government sponsored exchange. On April 1, Jay Carney, the president’s press secretary, announced that the final rush to the federal “Marketplace” resulted in 7,041,000 enrollments.
Unfortunately, the federal exchange was down for 4 hours on Monday morning and when it started to work again, many Americans have claimed that they had problems, similar to the problems that plagued that system in October and November.
Mr. Obama has given Americans extra time to finish their enrollment to Americans who had they had tried the federal website before and had problems.
Even though the White House is celebrating tonight, and claiming victory, I cannot forget that the promise behind the PPACA was that 48 million uninsured Americans would end up with health insurance and not just 7 million.
A closer look indicates that “Obamacare” was not even that successful in providing health insurance to uninsured Americans.
According to what I read a couple of weeks ago, 89% of those who obtained health insurance, through the government exchanges, already had health insurance and were just changing to an “Obamacare” compliant plan.
If that is true, it means that just 774,510 previously “uninsured” Americans took advantage of the new laws.
Further reducing that figure are reports from the insurance companies that only 80% of people who enrolled in plans through the exchanges have paid their portion of their premium.
If everything I have heard is accurate, Obamacare actually helped 619,608 previously uninsured Americans obtain private health insurance.
If the official numbers, from later this year, support that conclusion, it is my opinion that the Obama White House is celebrating prematurely.
There is no question that those Americans who have health insurance today, who did not have it in 2013, are in a better position then what they were in.
However, I am forced to ask myself if the little good that “Obamacare” produced was worth the aggravation and division that Mr. Obama, and his supporters, caused to the nation?
It appears to me, that after 5 years of political turmoil, Obamacare is one of the largest legislative failures in our nation’s history. At least Prohibition was done by Constitutional amendment. The PPACA was forced on America because 276 politicians in D.C. wanted it.
Unfortunately, as long as we have our current president and Senate Majority Leader, the law is not likely to be repealed, or even significantly changed.
There is talk that it will be tweaked between now and when the next round of exchanges start on November 15. However, large changes are not expected.
Hopefully, things will be less hectic as the next phase of “Obamacare,” the effect that it will have on group health insurance premiums, happen as group plans renew during the year.
Those group plans that renewed during the first quarter of the year, did not make news while the nation’s attention was on the problems associated with the National Open Enrollment. Now that the NOE is over, I anticipate there to be more attention paid to group plans as business owners position themselves for the Employer Mandate, next year.
I have not heard of one situation where premiums for group health insurance plans decreased as a result of “Obamacare.” I am not saying that it has not happened, someplace in the United States. What I am saying is that I have not heard anything about it.