Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Biggest Shell Game Ever Played

Obamacare has been an utter disaster since the federal exchange website was first declared ready for business on October 1.  The Obama Administration claims that most of the website problems have been fixed and it is clear sailing ahead.  To hear it from them it will not be long until the public is totally in love with Obamacare.

It all sounds good. Everything out of Barack Obama's mouth usually sounds good. The problems arise when you begin to look at facts.

Jim Geraghty of National Review Online made me aware of a website that is dedicated to putting out all the facts on the enrollment numbers on Obamacare across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  You can check it out at

When you see the enrollment numbers for all the states in one place you really begin to understand what an epic failure Obamacare has been in its goal of reducing the number of uninsureds.

In fact, we are already three days past the original deadline to enroll in an Obamacare exchange plan in order to be covered for January 1.  This deadline has since been extended to December 23 which is only days away.  Of course, tax penalties will be assessed if coverage is not obtained for 2014 by March 31.

Let's look at some of the enrollment numbers compared to the goal of each state.  Bear in mind that it still is not clear whether those that have "enrolled" have actually paid for their coverage.  These numbers may not hold up in the end if payment is not made to the insurance company that has been selected.

Oregon is a complete embarrassment with just 730 enrollees compared to goal of 237,000 (0.3%)

District of Columbia has 565 enrollees against a goal of 43,000 (1.3%)

Texas has 14,038 and a goal of 629,000 (2.2%)

Maryland has 3,758 which is an awfully long way from its goal of 150,000. (2.5%)

Arkansas has signed up 1,404 against a goal of 51,000. (2.8%)

Florida has gotten 17,908 to sign up but its goal is 477,000. (3.8%)

Illinois is at 7,043 versus a goal of 143,000. (4.9%).

Delaware has 793 enrollees compared to a goal of 35,000. (5.4%)

Kentucky has 20,951 versus a goal of 220,000 (9.5%)

California has signed up 159,004 (more than all the other above combined) but it needs another 1,150,000 enrollees to meet their target goal. (12.2%)

You get the idea. Go to to see the entire list.

In fact, 45 states have not even reached 10% of their goal to this point.

As I review the numbers, only two states have enrollments that are even close to being respectable-New York has gotten to 43.7% of its goal and Rhode Island is at 22.2%.

In total, EnrollMaven estimates there are 485,912 enrollees compared to the goal of 7,066,000 by March 31, 2014.

Looking at these numbers you also have to wonder what the underlying demographic mix of the enrollees who will make up the risk pool in each of these states.  It is has to be an health insurance actuary's nightmare.  It would be a shock if it is not both much older and sicker than the state's population as a whole.  

The enrollment numbers will undoubtedly improve as we get the December 31 numbers and the March 31 "final deadline" gets closer.  However, it is hard for me to see how the numbers are going to work within the risk pool. And that will mean big trouble when rates are set for next year.

Keep in mind that 7 million people have lost their individual insurance policies to this point compared to the 485,000 who have signed up in one of the Obamacare exchanges.  That means that about 14 individuals have lost coverage compared to every one gaining coverage.  And that might overstate the facts because a number of those who have signed up for Obamacare already had coverage before.

Ernest Istook from The Washington Times put this graphic together to show the overall effect.

A big question is where these poor souls are going to be able to replace the coverage they already had.  If they just go into the exchanges the enrollment goals that the Administration established will be met.

Looking at the numbers you have to wonder is it a coincidence that 7 million lost their individual coverage but the Obamacare exchanges planned for 7 million to sign up this year?

Coincidences occur in this world but they are extremely rare.

It would not surprise me at all that the 7 million overall enrollment goal was established with the expectation that it would be easily covered by those displaced from their prior plans.  Getting those who were uninsured into the exchanges would be gravy on top.  This would then allow the Obama Administration to declare what a smashing success the law had been in achieving its objectives.

If this is what this is all about, Obamacare is the biggest shell game that has ever been played.  And it is the American people who have been played.

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