by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Rich Lowry‘s latest column at National Review Online explains why he believes the Affordable Csre Act is failing.
For the press, the debate about Obamacare is over. There may be a few proverbial Japanese soldiers wandering on isolated islands yammering on about the failure of Obamacare, but word will eventually filter down to them, too.
This assumption is so deeply embedded that it is impervious to new evidence that Obamacare is an unwieldy contraption that is sputtering badly. Yes, Obamacare has covered more people and has especially benefited those with pre-existing conditions (to be credible, Republican replacement plans have to do these things, as well), but the program is so poorly designed that, surely, even a new Democratic president will want to revisit it to try to make it more workable.
Enrollment is falling short. The Obama administration projects that it will have roughly ten million people on the state and federal exchanges by the end of next year, a staggering climbdown from prior expectations. The Congressional Budget Office had predicted that there would be roughly 20 million enrollees. If the administration is to be believed, enrollment will only increase about another million next year from its current nine million and only sign up about a quarter of the eligible uninsured.
Premiums are rising. Not everywhere, but steeply in some states. Indiana is down 12 percent, but Minnesota is up 50 percent. Health-care expert Robert Laszewski points out that it is the insurers with the most enrollment and therefore the best information about actual enrollees who have tended to request the biggest increases — a sign that they don’t like what they’re seeing in their data.