ObamaCare Exposes Democrats' Lies About the Uninsured
Health Care: One good thing about ObamaCare is that it finally laid bare the bogus claims Democrats have been making about the uninsured. Now can we get on with real reforms that will really help those in need?
According to the Congressional Budget Office, ObamaCare was supposed to make a major dent in the uninsured population in its first year — cutting its ranks by 13 million.
The CBO figured that of the 6 million it expected to sign up through an ObamaCare exchange and the 8 million added to Medicaid, 86% would have previously been uninsured.
The prediction looks to be wildly off the mark.
Of those who bought ObamaCare-approved insurance, just 27% came from the ranks of the uninsured, according to a February survey by McKinsey & Co. In the months leading up to February, that figure was just 11%.
Even this could be optimistic, since McKinsey also found that about half of the previously uninsured still hadn't paid their first ObamaCare premium. Many of them could wind up back in the uninsured pool.
In addition, Medicaid enrollment will likely be lower than predicted, and no one seems to know how many of these had been uninsured.
What's more, surveys consistently find that the uninsured don't like ObamaCare.
The Kaiser Family Foundation's monthly tracking survey found that they actually turned more hostile to the law after the exchanges opened in October.
The share of uninsured who had an unfavorable view of the law jumped from 35% in September to 56% in February. (That number dropped a bit in March, but was still well above the prior year's average.)
The Kaiser survey also found that more than two-thirds of the uninsured hadn't even tried to buy insurance in the past six months, and half said they don't plan to buy an ObamaCare plan.
These results no doubt befuddle liberals, who had convinced themselves that 46 million people desperately wanted insurance but had been "locked out" by greedy insurance companies who wouldn't cover them because they were sick or old.
So how come these people aren't swarming to the exchanges? The truth is that Democrats had been misleading the country about the uninsured for decades, mischaracterizing who they were, exaggerating their plight, and grossly inflating their numbers.
ObamaCare is now exposing this fraud for all to see.
Of the 46 million who supposedly lacked insurance, for example, more than 40% were either eligible for Medicaid, enrolled in Medicaid, or weren't U.S. citizens. ObamaCare helps none of these groups.
Of the rest, they are predominantly young and in good health. Most of their intervals spent without insurance are relatively short and a significant portion have incomes over $50,000, which means they aren't eligible for ObamaCare subsidies.
Meanwhile, just 5% said they were refused insurance because of poor health or age, according to a Kaiser survey. Most cited cost as the barrier.
But while ObamaCare claims to solve the first problem through its guaranteed issue requirement, it largely fails to fix the cost problem. Even with subsidies, ObamaCare's inflated premiums are still unaffordable for many uninsured.
In fact, the McKinsey survey found that more than half of the uninsured who shopped for an ObamaCare plan cited cost as the reason for not buying one.
There are better, more targeted, and far less expensive ways than ObamaCare to help those who truly need it.
High-risk pools, for example, were already providing backstop coverage in many states to those with high-cost illnesses. Tort reform, interstate insurance sales, health spending accounts and other private-sector reforms would make insurance more competitive and affordable.
But getting these done means first being honest with the public about just who the uninsured really are.