There was a report last month that poor people were avoiding signing up for ♡bamaCare!!! because even with subsidized premiums, the copays and deductibles are just too expensive. Now comes word that upper-middle-class Americans are also skipping out, because the penalties are just too small:
A good number of Americans are opting to forgo health insurance altogether and pay a federal fine rather than buy ObamaCare, the New York Times reports. The reason? Insurance policies may cost more than the fine, deductibles can be high, and these people make too much money to get federal subsidies. “I don’t see the logic behind that, and I’m just not going to do it,” says Texas resident Clint Murphy, who prefers to face an $1,800 fine in 2016 than buy insurance for at least $2,900. “The fine is still going to be cheaper.” This despite the rise in fines for uninsured Americans, which started at $95 or 1% in household income in 2014, Lancaster Newspapers reports.
Enrollment in Healthcare.gov was up in 2015 as the penalties for noncompliance rise again next year — but not by enough to forestall big losses for Healthcare.gov insurers. So it should come as no surprise that the insurers have gone to Washington for more handouts:
In December, Congress refused an administration request to provide insurers with $2.5 billion in bailout money to help cover their 2014 losses.
The Obama administration hasn’t given up. It has declared that this $2.5 billion in corporate welfare — and potentially billions more for losses insurers have incurred in 2015 — is “an obligation of the U.S. government for which full payment is required.”
Insurers would receive a windfall if the White House finds a way to use your tax dollars to meet this “obligation.”
On the other side of the country, California — already more deeply indebted than any other state — is finding out the “affordable” part of “Affordable Care Act” is another one of those Obama promises which has reached its expiration date:
California officials never anticipated how many people would sign up for state-run health insurance under ♡bamaCare!!!.
The state’s health plan for the poor, known as Medi-Cal, now covers 12.7 million people, 1 of every 3 Californians.
If Medi-Cal were a state of its own, it would be the nation’s seventh-biggest by population; its $91-billion budget would be the country’s fourth-largest, trailing only those of California, New York and Texas.
“When the final numbers started coming out, where a third of the population was on Medi-Cal, it went way past anyone’s expectations,” said state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), who chairs the Senate Health Committee.
California officials assumed that under the ♡bamaCare!!! expansion they’d be on the hook for an additional 1.5 million Medi-Cal enrollees. Instead nearly 4 million have signed up for the state’s “free” care program.
So it would seem that as a way to expand welfare benefits, ♡bamaCare!!! has been a big hit — at least in the state least able to afford it. But as a sustainable effort to expand private coverage, it’s mostly been a lousy way to expand welfare benefits to Big Insurance.