To kick off 2014, Kathleen Sebelius is reportedly papering the country with op-eds about the wonders of the “Affordable” Care Act. But her PR campaign aside, things will continue to deteriorate for Obamacare in 2014. Here are ten ways it’ll happen:
1. Many won’t pay: A sizeable share of the 2 million people who selected a private insurance plan before the 2013 deadline will not pay their share of the premiums and therefore won’t be covered by the plans in which the White House says they “enrolled.” Enrolling, by the White House definition, is actually just selecting a plan — the same as putting an item in the shopping basket at Amazon. Until you pay, you don’t own it. Early reports from Washington State and Nevada show that only half of those selecting a plan had paid their first month’s premium before the deadline.2. Others will stop paying
: Even if people do pay their premiums for the first few months, we’ll wait to see how many people are still paying them later in the year and maintaining their insurance. Remember, the law requires people to pay premiums for health insurance every month, year after year, to comply with the mandate; if they go more than three months in a year without government-approved health insurance, they have to pay a penalty tax.
3. Many enrollees will be the newly-uninsured: Obama-administration officials are not releasing data on how many of the people who have picked plans are from the ranks of the uninsured. One reason: It is likely that many if not most of those enrolling in private insurance are people who have been kicked out of their existing private plans because their policies didn’t comply with the mountain of Obamacare rules, mandates, and requirements.
4. Another broken promise: Many members of Congress who voted for Obamacare did so because they wanted “universal coverage.” But we may end up further from that goal: If the numbers show that millions of those buying insurance on the exchanges had insurance before but lost it because it didn’t comply with Obamacare’s rules, we may wind up with fewer people with private insurance than before the $2.6 trillion law passed! That would be another betrayal of trust with the American people, who genuinely wanted to help expand access to health insurance.
5. Many uninsured won’t enroll: People will find that Obamacare’s high-deductible insurance policies just aren’t worth the exorbitant premiums — even after subsidies — and won’t buy. Faced with paying premiums of $3,000 or more a year and carrying a $4,000 annual deductible, millions just won’t see the value in buying the coverage.
6. Sicker and older enrollees will outweigh younger healthies: The Obama administration hasn’t released a demographic breakdown of exchange enrollees so far. But many of us — and many in the Obama administration — fear that those most likely to enroll are older, sicker, and more expensive patients, not — despite Pajama Boy’s hot-chocolate plea — the younger, healthier people needed to offset their elders’ premiums. This will mean premiums or deductibles will have to be even higher in 2015.