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News That’s Too Bad To Spin: Obamacare Has Enrolled 3 Percent Of Its Target Customer Base

November 13, 2013 by  

News That’s Too Bad To Spin: Obamacare Has Enrolled 3 Percent Of Its Target Customer Base
PHOTOS.COM

If you started a company with a fully subsidized startup cost and were granted free publicity months ahead of your product launch that got your product in front of every eligible buyer in the United States, would you be disappointed when your product achieved a 3 percent market share in its first month?

What if the court system had cleared a path for your ambitions to reach monopolistic proportions by giving you permission to dictate to your competitors what they could or couldn’t sell? What if the government set the wind at your back with buyer mandates and a guaranteed market presence in all 50 States?

Even assuming all your startup costs had been paid by a mysterious benefactor and you had no financial skin in the game until the day your widgets hit the market, would you even want to stay in business after you mustered a 3 percent market share? Or would you cut your losses before you incurred any and try your hand at something else?

Government doesn’t have to play by any of the rules that force free markets to be profitable, so it can cruise along indefinitely — or until its financiers grow restless enough to revolt against its policies — by pumping money into a sinking ship.

And according to a Reuters report Monday, that’s the shape of things in the early going for Obamacare, which has managed to enroll only 3 percent of the number of people the Department of Health and Human Services predicted it would. The kicker is that 3 percent is an optimistic figure, one that derived from Obamacare enrollment statistics in the 12 States where online health insurance exchanges are “mostly working smoothly,” according to the report.

HHS expected the State-managed exchanges to enroll 1.4 million people for 2014. They’ve enrolled 49,100 instead. Of course, the enrollment period is ongoing through March 31 of next year. But there’s no universe in which the sign-up rate will accelerate rapidly enough to come anywhere near the 1.4 million target by the time the enrollment period ends.

“Supporters of Obamacare and health insurers fear that scant participation in the private insurance exchanges will prevent them from becoming a sustainable new individual market, including the right mix of young and healthy members to offset coverage for older, sick people,” Reuters observes.

And those are the “supporters.” Far down in the same article, another revealing nugget demonstrates just how doomed the as-implemented configuration of the Affordable Care Act truly is: Part of the paltry 49,100 tally of new Obamacare enrollees includes people who’ve signed up for Medicaid.

And when the Obama Administration finally divulges some numbers on how many people have signed up in all States, as is expected later this week, those numbers – however meager they will appear – will nonetheless be inflated by the White House’s inclusion of anyone who’s put insurance in his or her online shopping cart at Healthcare.gov.

“Health insurance plans only count subscribers as enrolled in a health plan once they’ve submitted [sic] a payment,” The Washington Post reported Monday. “That is when the carrier sends out a member card and begins paying doctor bills.

“When the Obama administration releases health law enrollment figures later this week, though, it will use a more expansive definition. It will count people who have purchased a plan as well as those who have a plan sitting in their online shopping cart but have not yet paid.”

Lest you need some evidence that the Administration is doing everything it can to spit-shine the Obamacare disaster with unsustainably deceitful tactics, check out the latest “glitch” in the online marketplace: About 8,000 would-be shoppers at the Washington State Obamacare website were informed they would qualify for a healthcare subsidy on their tax returns.

But after following through with their Obamacare purchase, those same customers were informed the prices they’d been quoted were too low and that they don’t, in fact, qualify for the generous subsidies and low prices on which they made the decision to buy the coverage in the first place.

“That led many enrollees in the Washington exchange to select generous insurance plans they likely won’t be able to afford once their subsidies are reduced,” reports The Hill. “Those 8,000 individuals likely will need to go through the entire application process again to see what plans at what prices they qualify for under the correct tax subsidy.”

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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