Let’s let the Left berate us more about sustainability, shall we?
More seriously — although there was more than a nugget of truth in that gag line above — is that the $677,000,000 or billion dollars or whatever will eventually be amortized over millions and millions of paying customers. That’s up to 93 million paying customers, if the worst-case scenario comes to pass on how many people lose their current insurance. But whatever the final figure turns out to be, and I’m assuming the whole thing doesn’t blow up, that $14,196 will amortize down to less — a lot less.
Still, what are we getting for our money?
In 2008, the promise was to save each family of four an average of $2,500.
In 2009, the promise was to insure 47 million Americans who didn’t have insurance, and to save you those $2,500.
In 2010, the promise was to insure 47 million Americans who didn’t have insurance, and to save you those $2,500, and let you keep the plan you have and the doctor you like.
In 2011, the promise was maybe more like 30 millions Americans would get insured. I don’t remember any more talk about an actual dollar figure on your savings, but you could still for sure keep your doctor and your plan.
In 2012, Mitt Romney. ‘Nuff said.
In 2013, the promises, shifting though they were, all got broken. Premiums might be down, assuming you can get subsidized, but your copays and deductibles are all higher. As one smart commenter here put it a while back, the ObamaCare-approved plans are essentially catastrophic coverage at Cadillac plan prices. Instead of promising coverage to maybe 23 million Americans, the hope — and so far it is just a hope — is to get about seven million signed up by the end of next March. The official figure is 365,000 or so, but the real figure is significantly lower. How much lower is anyone’s guess, because guesswork is all this tight-lipped administration has left us. 800,000 or so have been added to the Medicaid rolls, which I suppose counts as coverage, if not actual insurance.
Your odds of keeping your current plan or your current doctor decrease with each creaking ratchet of the ObamaCare regulatory apparatus — somewhere between 5 and 5.5 million Americans have had their plans cancelled by those strictures. That number will climb.
But let’s be generous and optimistic here. We’ll spot the administration 200,000 paid customers out of the 365,000 who put something in a basket. That number is almost certainly high. Let’s tack on the 800,000 people newly enrolled in Medicaid. That’s a gain of 1,000,000 with coverage. From that we subtract the 5,000,000 (we’ll go with the low figure here, again in the holiday spirit of being generous and optimistic) who have lost their coverage. So far, ObamaCare is 4,000,000 souls in the hole.
So in order to achieve that 7,000,000 figure by March 31, the state and federal exchanges will have to get 11,000,000 or so folks registered, enrolled, and paid up.
That’s assuming — I am so very generous and optimistic this morning — not one more cancellation notice goes out. For every cancelled individual plan, another person must register, enroll, and pay up on one of the exchanges.
That’s the best-case number the administration faces. Based on the needs of ObamaCare’s exchanges and the number of Americans who have already been denied their existing coverage, 11,000,000 is baked in. It can go only higher. Which makes it seem almost unsportsmanlike to remind you that the financial incentive, especially for the young and healthy, is to ignore the mandate and to pay the tiny fine.
Now let us go back again to 2009-10, back when the Democrats had to pass legislation right the hell now in the dead of night without reading it, because 47 million Americans need insurance and we’re going to give it to them!
Give it to them good and hard, to borrow H.L. Mencken’s memorable phrase.
We’ve gone from 47 million to 30 million to 20-or-so million to negative four million.
In the history of broken promises by American politicians, that might just be a record.
thumbnail illustration courtesy shutterstock / cvalle