Not that anything Barack Obama represents as a factual claim should ever be believed, mind you, but last week’s chest-thumping surrounding the purported “eight million” number of Obamacare enrollees didn’t last very long before it started to fall apart.
That “eight million” doesn’t take into account whether the newly-insured have actually paid for anything. So what percentage of the enrollees in Obamacare actually have health insurance in force? How many have signed up but not paid?
In Georgia, it looks like the number is about half.
Georgia insurers received more than 220,000 applications for health coverage in the Affordable Care Act’s exchange as of the official federal deadline of March 31, state officials said Wednesday.
Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, though, said premiums have been received for only 107,581 of those policies, which cover 149,465 people.
“Many Georgians completed the application process by the deadline, but have yet to pay for the coverage,” Hudgens said in a statement Wednesday.
Is it this bad everywhere across the country? Probably not. But the fraud in that eight million number is scandalous for lots of other reasons.
At the Federalist, David Hogberg goes into the numbers the administration has already thrown around and finds obvious mendacity…
Before we get to that, let’s take a look at some of the other figures the Administration used in an email following the President’s victory dance. Here is the second bullet point:
3 million young adults gained coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act by being able to stay on their parents plan.
About two weeks ago I released a study showing that the 3 million number was bogus. The statistic came from an analysis from the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) using data from the Centers for Disease Control. HHS inflated the number by including both private and public sources of coverage. Further, the analysis had not been updated since June 2012. Correcting for that flaw plus using more up-to-date data showed that not more that 2.64 million young adults have gained coverage via their parents plan.
Additionally, Census Bureau data showed that not more than 258,000 young adults had gained coverage under their parents plan. I concluded that “we have no clue how many young adults have gotten coverage this way, and the numbers flying around are too unreliable for the president or anyone else to be using.” Guess President Obama didn’t get the message.
Near the end of the email the Administration uses this whopper:
Up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions – including up to 17 million children – no longer have to worry about being denied health coverage or charged higher premiums because of their health status.
That was based on an HHS study that included “pre-existing conditions” like arthritis, asthma and high cholesterol to boost the number of people who could be denied insurance to absurd heights. Previous research shows that barely one percent of the population is ever denied insurance for a pre-existing condition. Further evidence that the 129 million number is rubbish was supplied by Obamacare’s own high risk pool, set up for people with pre-existing conditions prior to the exchanges. Known as the Pre-Exising Condition Insurance Plan, it never enrolled much more than 107,000 people. That’s about .04 percent of the under 65 population.
The HHS study was even too much for Factcheck.org and PolitiFact. Factcheck.org said the number wasn’t true “because number who would be truly at risk of losing health insurance or paying more money is much smaller.” Of those 129 million, supposed 17 million were children. When President Obama used the 17 million figure, Politifact called it “mostly false.”
Virtually everyone agrees that health insurance under Obamacare is overpriced, which means even if premiums do get paid the likelihood of them staying current isn’t great. Back to Hogberg…
One factor that the CBO did not include was enrollees who leave the exchanges because their income shrinks thereby qualifying them for Medicaid. The U.C. Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education recently estimated that just under one-fifth of enrollees on Covered California would leave the exchange for Medicaid. Combined with people who left because they gained employer-based coverage, the Center found that Covered California would retain about 57.5 percent of current enrollees.
If that occurs across all exchanges,then the final enrollment number will be closer to 4.6 million. Of course, not every state is California (thank goodness), so the amount of churn due to Medicaid and employer-based coverage will vary across the nation. Yet those factors will cause the eight million figure to be revised downward as the year goes on.
Reason’s Peter Suderman delves into the demographic problems with Obamacare that will likely accelerate the nonpayment as premiums are readjusted to cover the risk to insurers…
As it turns out, we do have information about sign-ups in that age group, and the demographic mix is much closer to the worst-case scenario than it is to the administration’s target. About 28 percent of the sign-ups in the federal exchanges are between the ages of 18 and 34, according to a White House fact sheet. If, as Carney said in January, that number is much more important than the total number of sign-ups, then that’s probably a bad sign for Obamacare.
The president made the claim that some 35 percent of the enrollees were between 18 and 34. The difference between that figure and the real number of 28 percent of the signups is kids who are staying on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26. And while that’s a popular part of Obamacare, it’s hardly a solution; you’re only going to be covered until you’re 26 and then you’re uninsured.
And with a demographic problem that pushes Obamacare very close to a death spiral, which is more and more likely once the premium hikes kick in later this year (so far, the estimates indicate the biggest premium increases in decades – and the White House is crowing about how it’s not worse), the collapse of this scheme Obama and his media allies are denying looks just as likely as it has always been.
Some 61 percent of the American people think this president is a liar. Making dubious claims about eight million enrollees won’t help that – particularly when reality intervenes.