In its latest enrollment report, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says 9.9 million were still enrolled in ObamaCare exchange plans.
That’s almost 2 million fewer than the administration claimed in the spring, when it bragged that 11.7 million had signed up, and way below the Congressional Budget Office’s earlier forecast of 13 million.
Actually, it gets even more embarrassing than that: the administration had earlier – as in, last year – projected that there would be 25 million signups by the end of 2017. That is… looking increasingly unlikely to happen. In fact, I am not entirely certain whether the administration will make its revised adjusted modified 2015 target number of 9.1 million. I’m not saying that it won’t; just that it may not be the easiest target number in the world for the Obama administration to hit.
What happened? Rate hikes, of course. Double-digit rate hikes, for about 31% of the plans on the federal exchange. For those wondering: that’s rather a lot. Particularly since the original promise – which was admittedly offered by one of the most naive and ill-prepared politicians in American history – would be that the rates would go down. Not up. Down. I understand that Democratic elected officials can have difficulty distinguishing between the two categories – but I assure you, the difference really does exist.
Which is, by the way, why – and contra The Motley Fool – next year’s Obamacare penalty is probably not going to be much of a spur to things. Especially if you’re young and single: the penalty next year for not being insured is still either going to be $695/yr, or 2.5% of your taxable income. Which basically means that if you’re making about thirty or forty grand a year and you didn’t feel the need to shell out three grand a year for a plan with a five grand deductible already, you’re probably going to resentfully eat the significantly lower tax. Contrary to popular belief, young people can do math.
…I don’t think that this law is going to get popular any time soon. I also don’t think that the Democratic strategy, which is designed around the idea that eventually the law will become popular, is going to start working any time soon. And while I’m frustrated as anybody else on my side is that the GOP leadership’s ‘strategy’ seems to be to maintain a holding action for long as possible, I am dismayed by the equally aggravating possibility that this technique might end up eventually working for said leadership. Which would be infuriating, I know. Oh, yes, I know.
Moe Lane (crosspost)