According to The Wall Street Journal, young people are smarter than the Obama administration had expected. For the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, to work, millions of healthy adults under age 35 without health insurance have to buy coverage on the Obamacare exchanges, offsetting the cost of insuring older, more infirm enrollees. Per The WSJ, in 2015, 6.6 million “Millennials” accepted the tax penalty rather than pay for a policy they didn’t want. Why not? For most, the penalty is only $325 and they know that if they have an unexpected medical need, they can still get treatment at an emergency room. And they can always buy insurance after they fall ill because Obamacare forbids the denial of coverage for preexisting conditions. As a result, the Obama administration now begrudgingly admits that enrollments in the exchanges are expected to reach just 10 million people next year, up only a lukewarm one million over this year, and less than half the original projection of 21 million.
Meanwhile, premiums have risen an average 7.5%, as much as 35% in some states! Feel like “affordable care” to you? How do you think that’s working for most working Americans?
But there’s more, or less depending on your vantage point. Says The Huffington Post, for the two years after the law took effect, many insurers knowingly set premiums unrealistically low “in order to grab customers, even if it meant losses in the short term.” Many of them are now embarking upon a price “correction.” In fact, United Healthcare, one of the largest insurers in the country, announced just last week that it cannot continue to sustain these losses and may pull out of the Obamacare business altogether.
Obamacare provides subsidies for low income subscribers, but, according to Forbes.com, the number of people who need and qualify for those subsidies is approximately double what the Obama administration originally predicted. Right now, those who are being subsidized are about the only ones who “generally find ACA plans worth their cost.” That does not offer a rosy picture for Obamacare’s future sustainability.
Last week, I questioned here whether the federal government could be trusted to determine which Syrian refugees could be safely admitted into the U.S. Maybe they’ll do a better job vetting the Syrian refugees than they’ve done sorting out the healthcare crisis in our country. But, hey, maybe the refugees will sign up for the ACA exchanges. Oh, right, they’ll likely do so only by adding bloat to the subsidized rolls. No problem. We can afford it. We’ll just take it from our plentiful Medicare reserves.
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