by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The White House is trying to manufacture good news about ObamaCare, but cold realities lie ahead that will reveal the truth about the law’s success or failure. All we have to do is follow the money.
Who has paid? This is crucial to determining how many of the eight million that the president says “enrolled” in federal and state exchanges actually completed the purchasing contract by paying the premium. If the news were good, we’d assume the administration would have released it.
A McKinsey survey estimated that only 53% of previously uninsured enrollees had paid their premiums, while 86% of previously insured enrollees had paid. …
… The number of paying customers may be higher in other states. But how many who do pay the first month’s premium will pay the second, third, and fourth month, especially after they learn of the limited benefits and high deductibles the policies carry?
Big premium increases: The Obama administration has touted a Congressional Budget Office report that says the health law will cost about $5 billion less than originally projected this year and $104 billion less over 10 years. That’s partly because the Supreme Court made Medicaid expansion optional for the states and because the Obama administration has made (mostly illegal) changes to the law that give more people escape hatches.
CBO numbers are one thing, but pocketbook costs are another. Avik Roy writes in Forbes that individual-market premiums this year are 41% higher on average than last year and, in some states, more than 100% higher.
Lower spending for the government doesn’t mean lower costs for people. Sticker shock is coming for next year’s rates, according to insurance company executives. While companies are trying to keep premiums low to keep and attract enrollees, analysts expect premiums to triple in some states. People will begin to learn just how high the new prices will be this fall before the next enrollment period begins in November.