A recently-released report on Obamacare enrollment numbers shows that less than a quarter of those who have signed up for health care plans during the first few months are the young, relatively healthy adults the Administration is relying on to sign up and keep premiums in check. This is far less than the Administration’s target of around 40 percent. According to Department of Health and Human Services figures, more than half of those that did sign up are between the ages of 45 and 65. Folks in this age range tend to be more expensive to cover.
As noted by the publication Politico, “The data released by the Administration does not specify how many of the enrollees were previously insured, how many people have sought exemptions from the coverage mandate and the number of people who have actually paid their first premium.” That is all important information that the Administration ought to share.
The Administration official in charge of the exchanges – Gary Cohen, Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight – testified before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations this week as we continue working to get information from the Administration on the implementation of Obamacare. Of course, he and other supporters of the law are quick to point out instances in which people have benefited from Obamacare. However, they are hesitant to acknowledge the existence of “losers” – those who now have lesser health care for a higher cost.
Mr. Cohen told Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), “Many Americans are able to attain better coverage at a lower cost.” I asked Mr. Cohen, “You would have to acknowledge under oath that many Americans have lesser coverage [under the Affordable Care Act] at a greater cost. Isn’t that true?”
I also shared a story of a resident of the Ninth District whose premium is going to triple and whose deductible is doubling. Mr. Cohen at first refused to acknowledge that there are “losers” under Obamacare, but eventually said, “I’m sure there is anybody in the United States in that circumstance, yes.” He went on to say that it’s complicated, as he didn’t have all the information on the options available to those losing out.
Congressman Corey Gardner (R-CO) asked Mr. Cohen, “How many of those who signed up in exchanges were not previously insured? How many were previously insured but had their insurance cancelled and now signed up through the federal exchange? How many saw their insurance rates go up?” Mr. Cohen did not have answers for these questions.
The Administration says they have the information when it comes to declaring that there are “winners” under Obamacare, but that it is complicated to get to whether there are “losers.” There are some people who benefit from Obamacare, but I believe far more will lose, and will pay more money for less insurance.
To echo Representative Gardner, without all of this important information, how do we know if or how the law is working? Rest assured we will continue pushing for transparency, and for the answers to these questions and many others.
– Morgan Griffith