Is ObamaCare Working?


As we inch toward the March 31 enrollment “deadline,” I think it is fair to ask, “Is Obamacare working?” And by working, I mean both politically for the Democrats and substantively for the country. White House senior official Dan Pfeiffer tweeted out, “Important to remember that back in Oct and November, everyone thought getting to 6 mil was impossible. Amazing comeback story.” We can discount that; Team Obama’s credibility is shot. So what do we really know? What does the information available really tell us, and what can we discern from the constant evasiveness of the administration?
Substantively, the administration is refusing to acknowledge a few essential points. One, the original definition of “success” — the CBO number they adopted as their own — was 7 million enrollees. And next, an estimated 20 percent of the alleged 6 million enrollees have not paid their premiums, which means they do not actually have insurance. That leaves us with 4.8 million enrollees at best, without discounting duplicate enrollments, unfinished applications and any other factors that would diminish the number who have actually signed up for Obamacare.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius continues to stonewall Congress and to claim that HHS does not know how many people have paid their premiums. In response, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) wrote her a letter saying, “We have recently obtained information that suggests your most recent testimony before the Ways and Means Committee was at best evasive and perhaps misleading.” (Camp and Brady are such gentlemen.) The letter continued, “Insurers are submitting information to CMS about who has effectuated their enrollment, i.e. who has paid their premium. Please provide this information in its most updated form immediately.” In other words, the administration has the data but doesn’t want to release it because it would derail their narrative that Obamacare has reached a point where something meaningful has happened.

But, oh, by the way, the most stunning omission from the White House, Sebelius, et. al. is that Obamacare has failed miserably in its original purpose — insuring the uninsured. President Obama and his Democratic allies can claim that 6 million people have gotten insurance, but we still don’t know how many of those are newly insured.

Regardless of the number of enrollees, or the number of people who are receiving subsidies, or how many people are able to keep their doctor, the bottom line is that Obamacare’s success should be based on the number of people who have insurance today who were uninsured before Obamacare was passed. Of course, that’s not something the administration will even admit they are tracking. What does that tell you? After all the insurance cancellations, the administration’s insistence that 6 million people now have insurance because of Obamacare is a lot like firing 20 people, hiring 18 of them back and claiming that you have created 18 new jobs. In other words, nobody knows what the net number of people insured is once you have factored in how many people lost their insurance because of Obamacare.

But all of this is just the appetizer. The political entrée is how voters will react to the quality of care, access and premiums/co-pays they will encounter in the Obamacare exchanges over the next year. Maybe the Web site works better, and maybe some newly insured individuals have signed up. The real test will be if Obamacare can deliver insurance with a health-care plan that people actually like by November. That’s a lot harder than fixing a Web site or fudging enrollment numbers.

From an insurer standpoint, an enrollment mix where only 25 percent are in the golden 18-34 age bracket is not the definition of “success.” And if the enrollees lean toward older, sicker people, premiums are going to go up dramatically for everyone. The premiums will be higher, and the only way insurers can lower prices is to make their networks more and more restricted, limiting access and choice for millions of Americans. That’s not what success looks like.

Vulnerable Democrats on the ballot in 2014 know this. They are going to spend the next seven months offering “fixes” for the unpopular parts of Obamacare – as we started to see yesterday – and will try to escape blame for the continuing failures. We can already hear the “there is more work to do” pablum they will be spewing.

The champions of Obamacare — who are quickly diminishing in number — say it is here to stay, that it is the law of the land and millions are counting on it. They celebrate the idea that the infection that is Obamacare has crept into the population and will never be undone. This all overlooks how much of the law has been changed, delayed, overturned, or otherwise diluted by lawmakers who struggle with all of Obamacare’s failures. The more we find out about Obamacare, the less chance there is that Obama and his Democratic allies will be able to claim success and convince voters they are better off with it than without it.

Is Obamacare working? The short answer is no.

Source: Washington Post


  1. “After all the insurance cancellations, the administration’s insistence that 6 million people now have insurance because of Obamacare is a lot like firing 20 people, hiring 18 of them back and claiming that you have created 18 new jobs.”

    Is Weinzapfel working for Obama now? This is exactly what he did with the arena. 600 people fired at Roberts. 600 people hired at Ford Center. Voila! Weinzapfel took credit for creating 600 new jobs when he just moved them 2 miles.

    Obama and Weinzapfel: Bullshit Brothers

  2. Editor,

    Stipulation: I’m no apologist for Obamacare. Notwithstanding, the state of healthcare prior to any attempt by the ACA to improve it….well, we can all acknowledge that wasn’t working either – both Parties acknowledge it in fact.

    SO, when I see “Is Obamacare working?”….the headline here, I think, “Great. The CCO Editor…pretty objective as a whole, in fact, it’s part of the CCO’s brand to be that.” So, I was looking forward to reading the commentary.

    But Man, this commentary wreaks with vindictiveness. Which is ok, but at least acknowledge it up front…you know?

    Or change the title of the article to “Let’s check in to see if this abomination called Obamacare is actually working.” That would be a more authentic headline than you are using.

    Seriously, your criteria for success judgement is “working substantively for the country” (OK, that’s a perfectly good criteria) AND “is it working politically for the Democrats?” (What? THAT made me realize this was heading towards vindictiveness, not objectivity.”)

    Drudge Report’s stock in trade is creating misleading headlines (fully re-writing somebody else’s headlines actually) that don’t represent the actual intent of the article.

    But the CCO? C’mon man.

    • Headline came from the source. We can’t change it. Notice the credit at the bottom of the article.

      • ….Editor:

        I see. The attribution by the CCO is not real obvious and does not include name of author, and that could imply it’s from the WaPo Editorial Board.

        Indeed….the article is written by a GOP columnist:

        “Ed Rogers, a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991. Rogers has been involved with numerous Republican political campaigns, including the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.”

  3. My dear editor,

    The real test of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” as it is known to right-wing vulgarians, is whether it speeds the destruction of the current system and leads us to a rational system in which one’s political allegiances to approved leftist parties and interest groups is the primary criterion for free and high quality health care. It is entirely necessary that current medical providers be driven out of their private practices through decreased payments and regulatory harassment into a network of state-controlled clinics where they can be compelled to implement the recommendations of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. This will prepare them psychologically for the start of the liquidation of rightist elements in the next stage.

    The focus on numbers is short-sighted. Sometimes 7 million is 7 million. Sometimes it is 6 million or even 4 million. Sometimes 7 million is 6 million and 4 million at the same time. My dear editor, it was not so very long ago that we assured you that there were no fewer than 50 million in the US who had no insurance and would immediately take advantage of its availability. We have now convinced you that we meant 7 million instead of 50 million. Why is it so difficult to accept a couple of million even lower as the target?

    J. Coddington “Comrade Hugo” Fetlock IV
    Maximum co-coordinator
    Organizing for Idiocy
    Evansville Cell

  4. We know for a FACT that the unemployment numbers are being messed with, reporting 7% while 1/3 of us go without work…

    …the GlobalWarming(TM) hoax keeps getting pushed, even though we’ve CAUGHT THEM making up numbers THREE TIMES…

    …why would we just believe any OTHER number coming out of this administration?

  5. Key findings:
    Wasteful spending in the health system has been calculated at up to
    $1.2 trillion of the $2.2 trillion spent nationally, more than half of all
    health spending.

    This is what the IPAB was injected into the ACA to try to correct with Bucshon recently voting to cut off any and all funding for it.

    Any and all recommendations made by the IPAB would have to be given to Congress with Congress deciding to initiate the recommendations or not.

    Hell no this ain’t the problem!

    The problem is a half-baked Kenyan.

    Right howler?

  6. Off topic.

    Sorry editor:

    USMC Joke

    A Marine squad was marching north of Fallujah when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist who was badly injured and unconscious. On the opposite side of the road was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state.

    The Marine was conscious and alert and as first aid was given to both men, the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened. The Marine reported, “I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway here, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. We saw each other and both took cover in the ditches along the road.

    I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein was a miserable, lowlife scum bag, who got what he deserved. and he yelled back that Barack Obama is a lying, good-for-nothing, left wing Commie who isn’t even an American. So I said that Osama Bin Laden dresses and acts like a frigid, mean-spirited lesbian! He retaliated by yelling, “Oh yeah? Well, so does Nancy Pelosi!”. And, there we were, in the middle of the road, shaking hands, when a truck hit us.”

  7. Yoda says:

    March 29, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    How about if Sebilius just tells the truth about the federal exchange? That’s 36 states isn’t it. That should set the record straight. I bet she won’t ever release the real numbers, and I bet she has them. If they were favorable to her cause they would be front page news.

    Are you a web developer or database manager?

    If not then shut the h*ll up.

    I’m not either but in talking to people who should know your line of attack is unmitigated HorseShitake.

    BTW here is your precious free market capitalist for profit company, Oracle, that couldn’t find its a$$ with two hands.

    After $40M and repeated warnings the Oracle couldn’t even offer an explanation of the problem nor a timetable to fix the mess they created. Because of Oracle Oregon signed up ZERO applicants that’s right ZERO. The whole GD thing had to be scrapped.

    Don’t blame the government bureaucrats either because Oracle was give carte blanche.

    And this was ONE state.

    As far as Sebelius releasing the numbers I’ve only posted this website like a dozen times. If you would take the time to read the numbers and the blog you would have clue of what was actually going on, including the difficulty of anyone getting their hands on accurate numbers, and that includes Sebelius.

    However, instead of digging for the truth you seem to be occupied with spinning conspiracies and accusing others of being brainwashed and kool-aid drinkers. Projection is more like it.

    5-6 Million have signed up on the exchanges
    5-6 Million have been added to expanded Medicaid
    3 Million sub 26ers
    1-4 Off the exchanges

    Less 5 Million cancellations plus the 2M reinstatements
    is about 3M take away

    That is a net addition of 12-13M that now have insurance than before.

    BTW Mitch McTurtle and about a dozen other GOOPer’s said nobody wanted Obamacare. By April 15th I predict they will be off by about 14 million.

    • The numbers don’t matter as much as the demographics. If there are more sick (those with pre-existing conditions) signing up than healthy, then premiums will increase. How many will continue paying their premiums as they continue to rise?

      Throwing people on the public dole that have never been there before; some of which never wanted to be wards of the state, taxing the middle class and burdening businesses doesn’t sound like a recipe for success to me.

      Sebelius is a liar and will make up the numbers up as she goes along; the same way Obama continues implementing (day to day) his “signature achievement”.

  8. This whole fiasco isn’t about health care and who does or doesn’t have it. It isn’t even remotely about some altruistic compassionate drive to improve the human condition.

    It is all about shrill, naive, ignorant, lockstep sheeple assisting in the wholesale economic destruction of what once was the most vibrant socio economic engine this world has ever seen and at the peril of their offspring for countless generations to come.

    In this Hopey / Changy period of decay, only one bit of advice is worth taking to heart: Pick your friends wisely and pass the ammo!

      • ObamaCare is the domestic expression of the president’s ineptitude. The law that was supposed to fix health care has become a problem for millions, and now enjoys mere 26 percent approval, a poll finds. It is proving so unworkable that the White House has given up defending it as written and instead simply changes key provisions when they prove impossible to implement or politically inconvenient.

        Change No. 38 came when officials extended the March 31 deadline for signing up. Never mind that those same officials said recently there would be no extension, and that the law wouldn’t allow it.

        Presto — the limits on his power are moot because the president says so. Meanwhile, aides claim they don’t know how many of the 6 million who enrolled actually paid for insurance.

        A Caesar at home and a Chamberlain abroad, Obama manages to simultaneously provoke fury and ridicule. He bullies critics here while shrinking from adversaries there.

        He divides the country and unites the world against us, ­diminishing the nation in both ways. His reign of error can’t end soon enough, nor can it end well.

  9. It is way too soon to declare the ACA either a success or failure.Yes there are already some winners and losers but the full extent of the repercussions are yet to be determined. It most likely will be a mixed bag. There are already some concerns about what will happen in Indiana when the first renewal occurs this fall. Only time will tell.

    • Exactly, but the trend is now positive instead of negative.

      Massive lines to sign up reported in Las Vegas, Houston, and in Miami.

      Houston has only seven workers for 800,000 uninsured because the loathsome republican jackasses in Texas refuse to help get people signed up. Any time you dig for the real reasons the law isn’t working you find republican sabotage and treachery.

      KY demographics have 49% under the age of 35.

      And KY will meet 100% of its allocation of the 7M CBO original estimate by 4-15 if they haven’t already.

      CA and KY show what the law should have looked like without republican sabotage and treachery.

      BTW McTurtle hasn’t said a damn word about the ACA for months, very telling.

      • There are two emotions that drive people to stand in line. Fear and Greed. Greed for cheaper or better healthcare was the driver for the first 5 months of the sign up period. Those lines today are driven by FEAR OF THE GOVERNMENT. Today’s lines are the procrastinators and the chickens of society. The police state appears to be on the doorstep of success.

  10. If Barrycare was going to be so great Obama would not had to lie and lie and lie some more to the American people… Obama would not have to grant waivers or change the law 38 times….If Barrycare was so great millions of Americans would not be losing their healthcare……..If Barrycare was so great Obama’s Zombies would not have to blame others for the failure…..

  11. The national statistics are good only for political fodder. Each state will stand on its own as far as how well the ACA works for its residents.

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