by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
Obamacare’s original second enrollment period to #GetCovered has just about come to a close. (It was supposed to end yesterday, but the administration announced that they will be opening a new special enrollment period during tax season.) The Obama Administration has been chirping through twitter and other social mediums that the Affordable Care Act has thus far extended health insurance to 11.4 million enrollees and counting.
The White House considers this a success — especially because healthcare.gov isn’t nearly the disaster it was last year. But success shouldn’t be determined by the tally of enrollees. It should be based on factors such as how many of those enrollees were previously uninsured, how many consistently pay their premiums, and whether people can access affordable medical care.
No doubt, having insurance is important and the exchanges certainly do bring more consumer awareness, as some entering the non-group market are no longer shielded from the true costs of employer-sponsored health benefits. But the fact that individuals are being coerced into purchasing plans that are either too expensive or may not always serve their interests is just one reason why the federal health law’s approval rating is at an all-time low.
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