Looks likes Obamacare is still spluttering and staggering along, there.

(H/T: InstapunditOopsie.

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)

6 thoughts on “Looks likes Obamacare is still spluttering and staggering along, there.”

  1. .. wait until the “you don’t have to pay the penalty” meme to go ’round ..
    ‘s far as this cat knows, you can get away with not paying a thing in two ways – first, buy a “loophole plan” (http://khn.org/news/102913-michelle-andrews-364-day-insurance-plans/ – ignore the rather obvious bias in the first few paras) and second, tune your IRS withholding so it’s just over the amount of *tax* you owe, *ignoring* the penalty .. instead of paying $695, you can cut this to $6.50 or $65 and the IRS can’t touch you since the penalty isn’t a tax as far as they’re concerned.
    Do, of course, check with an actual tax adviser on that second one, but I’m pretty sure it’s a thing.

    1. Did somebody say “tax adviser”? 🙂

      The penalty for not having ACA-compliant insurance is a tax, but as you said, the IRS can’t/won’t go after you in the usual way if that’s all you owe.

      1. Quibble – is it a tax in the code, or a tax because of the supreme court decision?
        Because if it’s the former, then the IRS ought to be going after people .. but if it’s the *latter*, then the minute someone *does* pay it .. standing to sue becomes crystal [copulating] clear, eh?

  2. “I don’t think that this law is going to get popular any time soon.”

    My Democrat sister–and plenty of people like her, who, perhaps coincidentally, work at large employers who have teams of people keeping premiums down–is happy with O’care, because, as I said, her premium hasn’t gone up.

    My company’s plan goes up every year, although not much more than it did every year before O’care. But I also got the poke in the eye of the FSA cap cut.

  3. And if young people can’t do the math, their tax preparers will be happy to point out the difference between the penalty and the premiums for them. 🙂

  4. Obama has never been good with numbers it seems. He also promised that we would a million of electric cars on the road by 2015. Whelp, it’s 2015 and were only a 1/3rd of the way there. At this rate it will be more like 2025. But hey, what’s the difference a decade makes.

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