ObamaCare enrollment picture isn't rosy
by Chris Woodward
November 09, 2015
As open enrollment in ObamaCare continues, so does the debate on whether the law is a success.
Enrollment began on Sunday, November 1. According to the White House, more than a quarter million people submitted an application for health insurance in the first 48 hours. "I think it is an indication that there still is an appetite across the country for people who are looking for quality, affordable healthcare options," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said last week.
Devon Herrick, PhD and senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, says it's too early to tell in terms of how many people are actually enrolling. "But by all indications, it's not going to be nearly as robust as proponents of ObamaCare hoped when they established it five years ago," he says. "Health and Human Services now believes that only about 10 million people will be enrolled in ObamaCare at the end of 2016."
President Obama has appeared on various radio programs to urge for support and push enrollment. According to the president, misinformation about the Affordable Care Act abounds, and he says many people aren't aware of subsidies to help cover the cost of health insurance. Herrick says that's a "ridiculous" explanation for a lack of enrollees.
Herrick, Devon (NCPA) "I'll tell you why people do not want to enroll: it's because they find they are paying hundreds of dollars per month, even after a subsidy, for coverage that has deductibles that are so high that they can never expect to gain any benefit, intangible benefit from their coverage," he explains.
People not wanting to enroll in health insurance on the federal or state-based exchange do have the option of purchasing private health insurance, albeit without government subsidies. Those are only offered on exchange plans, and for people who qualify based on income.
Exemptions are also offered again, and while the tax penalty for not having health insurance is going to be higher this time around, many individuals, think tanks, and special-interest groups say some people may still opt for the penalty.