We Told You So

In today's fierce moral urgency of change news, it turns out the market for government health insurance for the uninsured is about 50 times smaller than Obamacare proponents told us it would be. Of course, we opponents of Obamacare were arguing last year this problem was overblown, and it appears in retrospect even our most parsimonious estimates were vastly too generous:

Mr. Obama declared at the time that "uninsured Americans who've been locked out of the insurance market because of a pre-existing condition will now be able to enroll in a new national insurance pool where they'll finally be able to purchase quality, affordable health care--some for the very first time in their lives."

So far that statement accurately describes a single person in North Dakota. Literally, one person has signed up out of 647,000 state residents. Four people have enrolled in West Virginia. Things are better in Minnesota, where Mr. Obama has rescued 15 out of 5.2 million, and also in Indiana--63 people there.
...
Combined federal-state enrollment is merely 8,011 nationwide as of November 1, according to HHS.

This isn't what HHS promised in July, when it estimated it would be insuring 375,000 people by now, and as many as 400,000 more every year.

Megan McArdle notably aroused considerable fear and loathing when, immediately post-passage, she called, in her usual admirably empirical way, for Obamacare proponents to attempt to measure their claims for the program against the actual outcomes over the coming years, and made her own predictions. That sound of pounding feet you hear in the background is those people running as far as they can as fast they can from those arguments today.

UPDATE: To put this failure in perspective, consider the resources necessary for the federal government and the 27 states who offered their own policies to implement this measure. It's very likely taxpayers have actually paid more for administration than enrollees have received in benefits.

posted by Dave on 11.12.10 at 11:23 AM










Comments

"It's very likely taxpayers have actually paid more for administration ..."

So it's jobs created or saved, see?

Ursus   ·  November 13, 2010 12:04 AM

It's very likely taxpayers have actually paid more for administration than enrollees have received in benefits.

...Wasn't that the point to begin with? Isn't the purpose of modern government to provide jobs for government employees? Doing stuff for the peasants is just so ...demeaning.

Tcobb   ·  November 13, 2010 12:13 AM

I really can't wait to hear what the spin on this will be... how will they blame Fox news for this one?

Expre   ·  November 13, 2010 1:43 AM

It's all Bush's fault!

Papasnake   ·  November 13, 2010 3:41 AM

Blaming Bush is so last month. This month it is due to a failure to properly communicate.

See, all the millions and millions of people who have been denied insurance for pre-existing conditions by the evil insurerance companies are being lied to by those evil insurance companies which are cleverly deceiving those poor people by paying their medical bills.

max   ·  November 13, 2010 4:52 AM

"Megan McArdle notably aroused considerable fear and loathing.."

Oh please. Megan McArdle is like a spouse who is forever cheated on but forever faithful. At least once a week, she notices lipstick on the collar and expresses dismay at the reality of what it all must mean. But to acknowledge it would mean losing the paycheck and status that comes with her relationship and so there is no reckoning - just another day and another column where, once again she notices lipstick on the collar and expresses dismay at the reality of what it all must mean.

Anonymous   ·  November 13, 2010 5:53 AM

"Megan McArdle notably aroused considerable fear and loathing.."

Oh please. Megan McArdle is like a spouse who is forever cheated on but forever faithful. At least once a week, she notices lipstick on the collar and expresses dismay at the reality of what it all must mean. But to acknowledge it would mean losing the paycheck and status that comes with her relationship and so there is no reckoning - just another day and another column where, once again she notices lipstick on the collar and expresses dismay at the reality of what it all must mean.

becky   ·  November 13, 2010 5:54 AM

Pet peeve alert triggered.

"50 times smaller"? Do you mean one fiftieth the size, 2%? While we can measure bigness, I'm not aware of any metric that measures smallness.

ameryx   ·  November 13, 2010 5:54 AM

"It's very likely taxpayers have actually paid more for administration ..." Can't be so b/c that equation was decreed to be the other way around in Obamacare (quite literally in that bill). It must be very frustrating for them to keep getting smacked in the face with reality. Anyway, you just know they'll come up with some scheme to jump start this with tax "rebates" or whatever, b/c those admin jobs must be saved (and another person may need some coverage or something).

egoist   ·  November 13, 2010 6:49 AM

Put me some knowledge here: If there are no more people than this requiring coverage for a pre=existing conditions, the we actually could legislate their coverage by private insurors without bankrupting them?

I mean, it looks like this is, despite what we've been told, a managable problem. So why couldn't we just allocate these few sufferers to Aetna and Blue Cross and tell them they have to cover them and we'll help with the premiums?

What am I missing?

spongeworthy   ·  November 13, 2010 7:59 AM

This is why I'm always so disinclined to support Democratic Party policies: their dire predictions rarely, rarely, pan out.

For less than $1 million per year we could, as a compassionate nation, pay for insurance for 8000 people in need. No problem, and if the problem had been presented in this way, it would get bipartisan support.

But that's never the way these problems are presented: it's always MILLIONS OF AMERICANS IN PERIL SO WE MUST TAKE OVER ALL HEALTH CARE!!!!!111!!!

They've been crying "Wolf" my entire life. It's about time the wolf eats them.

And no, that's not hateful eliminationist rhetoric, that's a metaphorical literary reference.

Pious Agnosic   ·  November 13, 2010 8:27 AM

Isn't this actually a success? The problem with Medicare was always that the real demand for subsidized health insurance far outstripped the projections (and the budgets based on them). And the doomsday predictions for Obamacare involved it cannibalizing private health insurance and moving the vast majority of citizens into government healthcare - a hopelessly unaffordable scenario. So while this is entertaining, it's actually good news - finally a federal program that does, and presumably costs, /less/ than even its proponents predicted.

One thing to keep in mind, though: everyone knows that 'Obamacare doesn't take effect til 2014', so I suspect most haven't even looked into it. There will likely be a lot more signups if this story hits the MSM

Stacy   ·  November 13, 2010 8:59 AM

I guess these figures kinda make the point that the whole health care boondoggle wasn't about health care at all. Or about fairness. Or even about compassion. It was about the government getting control over the populace. It always is about that with socialists. So now they completely control life and death decisions for over 8,000 Americans who previously had that control themselves. That, my dear fellow readers, is priceless to a socialist.

Diggs   ·  November 13, 2010 9:16 AM

I think the reason so few have signed up is that most people don't know about it or how to access it. Ivhave health insurance but if I didn't I wouldn't know how to go about getting Obamacare - would you?

However, even when consumer awareness has spread as far as it's going to, the numbers signing up will be much smaller than predicted.

Yehudit   ·  November 13, 2010 12:40 PM

Pious Agnosic,

I'd go for the alligator actually.

M. Simon   ·  November 13, 2010 2:33 PM

spongeworthy:

you are correct IF we allowed the insurance companies which are forced to cover the uncoverable to do so using the type of policies they currently use to cover the uncoverable. This program was created to solve the wrong problem, the problem isn't that people with pre-existing conditions are unable to buy medical insurance, it is that they are unable to buy medical insurance with terms that they are willing to accept. Just about all (medical) insurance companies will sell a person with a pre-existing condition a policy which does not cover that condition or complications arising from that condition. Most will sell a policy which doesn't initially cover the condition but after a time will cover it although they will charge more for this policy. Most will also sell a policy which covers pre-existing conditions from the start or shortly after coverage starts but it will be a very expensive policy.

As with most of the healthcare reform debacle, the people creating the "solution" are so married to the reality based community that they have difficulty understanding reality. The real problem was (and still is) that people with pre-existing conditions could not get insurance that covered those pre-existing conditions on terms they were willing to accept. But not being able to buy insurance at all because of a pre-existing condition sounds much worse, so the reality based community latched on to this non-problem and created a massive program to defeat it while ignoring reality.


max   ·  November 13, 2010 3:18 PM

Diggs is right about Part I: Power grab

Part II: Keep it in place - HCR is a huge success!

Obviously, the number of enrollees will rise but even if the number really starts to accelerate and goes up by a factor of five or ten...

80% have of the original [bs] number will have been magically covered.

Amazing! Saved or insured.

Now for the next tricků

Part III: More gov't! See it worked.

Weeee!

What we've got here...is a failure of imagination.
The justification for HCR was a complete and total fabrication.

[Just flew in from Instapundit and boy are my arms tired.]

Ponderosa   ·  November 13, 2010 5:59 PM

spongeworthy - "They've been crying "Wolf" my entire life. It's about time the wolf eats them. And no, that's not hateful eliminationist rhetoric, that's a metaphorical literary reference."

Unlike spongeworthy, I have no problem being called a hateful eliminationist - I hope they all get eaten by wolves. :)

Hateful Eliminationist   ·  November 13, 2010 7:25 PM

I don't know why any rational person would think that the taxpayers should have any say in this.

LC   ·  November 14, 2010 5:55 PM

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