Monday, November 15, 2010

The Secretary of Health and Human Services can lead those with pre-existing conditions to water...

... she just can't (dammit!) make them drink.

We were sold ObamaCare on the premise that it would a) bend the cost curve downward and b) it would guarantee coverage for those without insurance, particularly those with pre-existing conditions.

With respect to b), how's that been working out so far?

To judge by President Obama’s rhetoric, the insurance industry’s victims have been wandering the country like Okies in “The Grapes of Wrath.” Thus ObamaCare gave the Health and Human Services Department the power to design and sell its own insurance policies. The $5 billion program started in July and runs through 2014, when ObamaCare’s broader regulations kick in.

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. HHS did best among the 24.7 million Texans. Thanks to ObamaCare, 393 of them are now insured.
States had the option of designing their own pre-existing condition insurance with federal dollars in lieu of the HHS plan, and 27 chose to do so. But they haven’t had much more success. 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. HHS even warned that it would bill private carriers for any claims if HHS decided that they had cancelled coverage to dump costs on the government. That outcome would certainly be in keeping with Mr. Obama’s caricature of rampant discrimination against the sick.
(italics, ours)

By the numbers, that is a success rate of 2.13%, surely a smashing success by anyone's estimation.

So, we have a situation where ObamaCare's attempts to manipulate the health care sector have actually caused health care costs to rise at a faster rate than that which they were already rising (our running post "Nancy's Nuances: a journey of discovery" which helped chronicle such developments has disappeared into a Blogger worm hole but a few recent examples can be found here and here) and now the other half of the sales job looks to be failing miserably as well as the greed and rapaciousness of the health care providers appears to be a myth or, shall we, a smear job perpetrated by Team O.

The two pillars for justifying ObamaCare are falling apart in spectacular fashion a mere 8 months after its passage.


SarahB said...

Great piece! Definitely going under the radar. sharing

Dean said...

Thanks, Sarah!

steve said...

"So, we have a situation where ObamaCare's attempts to manipulate the health care sector have actually caused health care costs to rise at a faster rate than that which they were already rising"

Data? I have been president of my corporation for quite a while. We have been seeing double digit increases for a long time in premiums. Simpson-Bowles advocates keeping and expanding upon the IPAB.


Dean said...

Data? At the links I have provided as well as previous posts labeled "ObamaCare", Steve.

State regulators both here in California and Connecticut have approved premium hikes across the board as health insurance providers are compelled to act in their self-interest as they are asked to provide more benefits to their customers.

Team O thought they were being too cute by a dozen in front-loading all the juicy bennies in O-care in order to get it passed, not realizing the price signaling that was accomplished via this strategy would result in providers immediately jacking up their rates.

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steve said...

Sigh. We all suffer from observation bias. You are taking the word of the insurance people in the article you cite. You are inclined to believe them. I have been dealing with health insurance companies for many years. I am inclined to take them with a large grain of salt. Again, costs have rising much faster than inflation before Obamacare. Now, suppose you were an insurance exec and you wanted to increase premiums. What would you say? Could they be telling the truth this time? Maybe, just hard to tell.

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