Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Obamacare’s numbers are in and it ain’t pretty for the U.S. taxpayer

Obamacare’s numbers are in and it ain’t pretty for the U.S. taxpayer:





  • Now that the figures are available for Medicaid and private health insurance enrollment for the second quarter of 2014, it’s possible to get a fuller perspective on the rollout of Obamacare
  • ‘What we’ve learned is that the Obamacare gains in coverage were largely a result of the Medicaid expansion and that most of the gain in private coverage through the government exchanges was offset by a decline in employer-based coverage’
  • 71 percent of the net increase in health insurance coverage in the first two quarters of 2014 was accounted for by Medicaid enrollment, it can be concluded that Obamacare, so far, is merely an expansion of Medicaid
By Charles Greene

Now that the figures are available for Medicaid and private health insurance enrollment for the second quarter of 2014, it’s possible to get a fuller perspective on the rollout of Obamacare.

Edmund F. Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski, researchers at The Heritage Foundation, have analyzed the data and released a report of their findings on the subject.

The pair have also published a summary of their report in The Daily Signal:

“What we’ve learned is that the Obamacare gains in coverage were largely a result of the Medicaid expansion and that most of the gain in private coverage through the government exchanges was offset by a decline in employer-based coverage. In other words, it is likely that most of the people who got coverage through the exchanges were already insured.”

Their findings include these main points:

  • Enrollment in individual health plans increased by around 6.2 million individuals (including both exchange and private plans).
  • Enrollment in private employer-sponsored group plans declined by around 3.8 million individuals.
  • States which which implemented Medicaid expansion saw enrollment increases of around 5.7 million individuals.
  • States not implementing expansion had enrollment increases of 355,674 individuals.
Haislmaier and Gonshorowski’s analysis of these figures yielded the following observations:

“1. The drop in employment-based coverage offset 61 percent of the gains in individual-market coverage, for a net increase in private-sector coverage of 2,465,586 individuals.

2. Total Medicaid enrollment increased by 6,072,651 individuals, with 94 percent of that growth occurring in the states that adopted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

3. The total, net increase in health insurance coverage (private-market and Medicaid combined) during the first half of 2014 was 8,538,237 individuals, but 71 percent of that coverage gain was attributable to Obamacare expanding Medicaid to able-bodied, working-age adults.”

The data suggests that a large percentage of the exchange enrollments were due to a “substitution effect” – in other words, most of the new enrollees already had coverage, either under employer-sponsored group plans or private-market individual plans.

Since 71 percent of the net increase in health insurance coverage in the first two quarters of 2014 was accounted for by Medicaid enrollment, it can be concluded that Obamacare, so far, is merely an expansion of Medicaid, in terms of covering the uninsured.


Haislmaier and Gonshorowski are curious to see how things play out once the next phase of the Affordable Care Act comes into effect. Among the unknown factors that will be revealed in the 2015 open enrollment period are:



  • “The share of 2015 exchange enrollments that represent new applicants, as opposed to re-enrollments by individuals who obtained exchange coverage in 2014;


  • Whether the number of Americans with individual market coverage continues to grow, and whether the number of those with private employer-group coverage continues to decline; and


  • If expanding Medicaid to able-bodied, working-age adults continues to be the principal source of coverage growth under Obamacare.”


Considering the cost of Obamacare to the nation’s taxpayers, these findings indicate that we are seeing very little improvement in return for our money.

Meanwhile, Republican leaders in Washington are considering how to use their increased leverage since the midterms to force a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but it won’t be an easy battle since the Dems are expected to filibuster any bill designed to do so.

The Republicans are will fall several seats short of the 60-vote majority needed to overcome a filibuster of a stand-alone repeal bill.

Even though a repeal is likely to be unsuccessful, Republicans are expected to at least make an attempt. Most of the realists in Congress recognize that the best hope is to try to use the procedure known as ‘reconciliation’ to, if not force a full repeal, at least modify some of the ACA regulations and/or reduce subsidies.

These more modest expectations will undoubtedly be disappointing to those who had hoped that the shift of power in the Senate would mean the end of Obamacare but, of course, the fight isn’t over yet.

It will be interesting to see how the Republicans wield their expanded clout in Washington and whether or not the 51 vote majority can really make a difference regarding the ongoing Obamacare disaster.

From the outset, conservatives predicted that Obamacare’s entitlements would break the Treasury; do you think Obamacare, in its current form, is economically sustainable? Would you like to see the new Republican congressional majority repeal or replace Obamacare? Why or Why Not? LOCK, LOAD AND ENGAGE US!

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