Enrollment in Obamacare online insurance plans has surged 47% the first two weeks the marketplace was open compared to the same period last year. Nearly 1.5 million Americans are “voting with their feet” and embracing the program by purchasing a plan, according to one giddy Obamacare supporter
Is that true? Well, the numbers are right.
Officials with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services seem unsure of exactly why so many Americans are flocking to buy health plans on Healthcare.gov despite spending a lot less money this year on advertising and outreach, several insurance brokers who visited the agency Tuesday told me.
“I got the sense that they were prepared to take quite a bit of blowback if the enrollment numbers were bad,” said Michael Keegan, senior vice president of Health Agents for America, a group that represents independent health insurance brokers. “I think they are pleasantly surprised that the enrollment numbers were as strong as they were.”
“Strong” could be an understatement. Healthcare.gov enrollment has surged at least 47 percent higher than during the same period last year,CMS announced yesterday. Nearly 1.5 million Americans selected plans on Healthcare.gov in the first 11 days of the sign-up period — a shockingly high number that has surprised just about everyone, given that the administration whittled down the advertising budget touting the open enrollment window by 90 percent.
Kaiser Family Foundation VP Larry Levitt tweeted a good side-by-side:
In other news, enrollment in @HealthCareGov continues strong at nearly 1.5 million through the second week of open enrollment. Average daily signups among new consumers are up 53% over last year. pic.twitter.com/sIR4XW2WiM
— Larry Levitt (@larry_levitt) November 15, 2017
Which leads to the next question: What really drives people to buy health-care plans, anyway? If the sign-up surge continues — although I should note it may not — does that call into question the importance of television, radio and web-based ads, and the navigator groups engaged in the sign-up effort who were spotlighted for losing grant funding?
“What we all thought was important doesn’t seem to be all that important,” one health-care lobbyist told me. “If people think that getting insurance is something that is good for them, they’re going to sign up. Ultimately people are going to vote with their feet.”
In other news, 90% of the American people admit they make a complete stop when they come to a stop sign.
Earth to Dems: It’s the fricking law, you idiots. Americans are a fairly law-abiding people — even when it comes to obeying crappy laws like Obamacare.
Why are we celebrating the fact that Americans obey the law?
The surge in enrollment doesn’t mean that people are finally — FINALLY — embracing Obamacare as every good little Democrat has prayed for (or sacrificed a small animal to Gaia) for years to become a reality.
The surge could be due to a variety of factors, including a shorter enrollment period this year. But far more significant than the number of Obamacare enrollees are the Obamacare holdouts — the millions of Americans who refuse to get subsidized health insurance despite the threat of IRS action.
Which is the more impressive statistic? The 1.5 million who have been forced to sign up for Obamacare or the 28 million Americans who refused?
According to the pro-Obamacare organization the Kaiser Family Foundation:
Cost still poses a major barrier to coverage for the uninsured. In 2016, 45% of uninsured nonelderly adults said they were uninsured because the cost is too high, making it the most common reason cited for being uninsured (Figure 3). Though financial assistance is available to many of the remaining uninsured under the ACA,4 not everyone who is uninsured is eligible for free or subsidized coverage. In addition, some uninsured who are eligible for help may not be aware of coverage options or may face barriers to enrollment.
A program that promised to stop the rise in healthcare costs and the spike in premiums has failed miserably on both counts. But it’s still a reason for Democrats to break out their party hats and dance in the streets?