Quote of the Day:
The president sees the writing on the wall. You won’t be seeing the customary nationwide TV campaign to encourage sign-ups, as there were in previous years. Remember the young guy in plaid pajamas — “Pajama Boy,” to conservatives — well, he won’t be back this winter.
–Betsy McCaughey in today's New York Post
Patrice Lee has done a great job of chronicling the ObamaCare pitches aimed at getting young people to sign up and save President Obama's signature health reform (here, here, and here, for starters).
But it just didn't work. Young people didn't bite in sufficient numbers, and now, as McCaughey observes in today's New York Post, ObamaCare is at last in its "dreaded death spiral." Only a fraction of those eligible are expected to sign up. All the subsidies apparently can't drag the citizenry to ObamaCare.
You might not yet be aware of how few people are signing up, McCaughey writes, and that is how the administration wants it:
Bad enough that healthy people aren’t buying. Worse is that the administration is spending billions of your tax dollars covering up the problem, paying insurers to keep offering the plans, even though they’re losing their shirts. But facts are facts — and there’s no hiding these.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell predicts ObamaCare enrollment will inch up by 1 million or so, to 10 million people — half what the CBO forecasted. Open enrollment for the coming year, which begins Nov. 1, “is going to be a challenge,” she said.
David Wichmann, UnitedHealth Group’s president, announced higher premiums last week because enrollees will “require more medical services than original expectations.”
The likely reason that they will require more health services than originally expected is that only the very sick are signing up for ObamaCare.
This is probably what the beginning death spiral looks like, but the drug companies that helped the administration develop ObamaCare programs will not be hit as hard as you might expect:
Don’t shed any tears for the insurance companies. Though they’re losing money on exchange plans, overall they’re profitable and their stocks are doing well. It’s John Q. Public who’s bearing the brunt. Just as ObamaCare intended.
If you get insurance at work, you’re paying an extra tax to fund “reinsurance” for ObamaCare plans. It’s a fund to defray the cost of their most expensive enrollees.
So far, insurers have collected about $7.9 billion. Recent congressional testimony shows the payments kept ObamaCare sticker prices about 11 percent lower than they otherwise would have been. In short, you pay a tax to make ObamaCare look more affordable than it is.
But even with these hidden subsidies, ObamaCare isn’t working because the design is fatally flawed. The 5 percent of the population with serious medical conditions consume nearly 50 percent of the health care. When you try to sell insurance to sick and healthy people for the same price, the healthy don’t sign up. It’s too expensive.
The next GOP debate needs to deal with ObamaCare and give candidates a chance to tell us their plans for replacing it.