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Obamacare’s Score of 67 Percent Merits a D

12:33 PM, Mar 28, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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In school, a child who gets a 67 percent will generally get a D.  But for Obamacare, 67 percent is apparently grounds for an A.  Talk about grading on a curve.

Obama at White House Forum on Health Reform 3-5-09 4

In 2012, the Congressional Budget Office projected that 9 million people would get health insurance for 2014 through Obamacare’s government-run exchanges.  Two days ago, the Obama administration announced that 6 million people had gotten insurance for 2014 through those very same exchanges—and the administration could barely contain its glee.  So, what gives?

In the summer of 2012, the Supreme Court issued its Obamacare ruling, holding that Obamacare’s individual mandate was clearly unconstitutional under the commerce clause but not clearly unconstitutional under the taxing power.  Shortly thereafter, the Congressional Budget Office released a document entitled “Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Updated for the Recent Supreme Court Decision.”  In that document, the CBO estimated that 9 million people would get health insurance for 2014 through Obamacare’s government-run exchanges. 

Last February, the CBO downgraded its estimate. It wrote that, in part, this downgrade reflected its judgment about “the readiness of exchanges to provide a broad array of new insurance options.”  In other words, over a year ago, the CBO could already read the writing on the wall:  Obamacare’s government-run exchanges weren’t going to be dazzling anyone with their technical competence or their product line.

Sure enough, they haven’t. Indeed, last month, the CBO had seen enough of the Obamacare rollout to downgrade its projection still further, to 6 million.  Less than 2 months later, that lowered estimate has now reportedly been hit—and the Obama administration is claiming victory.

This is a lot like a college football team that, in the immediate aftermath of the previous season, is projected by sportswriters to win 9 regular season games (out of 12) the following season and go to a good bowl game.  Then, after watching spring practice, the sportswriters decide that 7 wins is probably more realistic.  Midway through the actual season, they drop their projection to 6 wins—and the team finishes 6-6 and doesn’t go to a bowl.  Where this analogy breaks down is that the teams’ players would likely view their season with disappointment, while the Obama administration acts as if its 6-6 team has won the national championship. 

Moreover, even the figure of 6 million is based on the number of people who have “signed up” for insurance.  But people don’t “sign up” for insurance; they buy it—and it’s not clear how many of these 6 million have yet bought anything.  From reports, it appears that about 20 percent—or more than a million people—have “signed up” for something that they haven’t yet bought and likely have no intention of ever buying.  Only an administration with as little business experience or acumen as this one would count such people as confirmed customers.

In reality, it appears that the Obama administration knows how many people have paid for these plans but is refusing to release those numbers to the public.

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