For years, this blog has been warning about how the high cost of Obamacare-sponsored insurance would limit the law’s expansion of health coverage. Well, the chicken has come home to roost. Today, the Obama administration announced that it projected dramatically lower enrollment growth for Obamacare’s exchanges in 2016: only 1.3 million, compared to a prediction of 8 million when the law was passed five years ago.
Fewer than 1 million new customers nationwide will have health insurance from the Obamacare exchanges next year, according to a federal report published Thursday.
The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 10 million people will be covered by private health insurance policies obtained via the Affordable Care Act’s exchange marketplaces in 2016, an increase of just 900,000 from the 9.1 million people the department estimates will have such plans by the end of this year.
While the House Speakership remains in limbo, plans to repeal Obamacare via reconciliation are still moving forward. Last week, the House Budget Committee advanced the bill, which would gut key Obamacare provisions, along with defunding Planned Parenthood for a year–to the House floor.
Community Health Alliance, Tennessee’s health insurance co-op, will stop offering health insurance coverage in 2016, reports The Tennessean. The move will make nearly 27,000 individuals find insurance elsewhere. In January, the co-op froze enrollment. The organization will continue to pay out existing claims and slow down its operations, The Tennessean reports.
Kentucky sometimes failed to ensure that all consumers who signed up for insurance on the state’s health exchange were eligible for coverage, the latest federal audit found.
The audit, released Thursday by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, found that some of the Kentucky exchange’s controls for confirming consumers’ eligibility weren’t effective. Earlier audits also identified deficiencies in the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, as well as state-run exchanges in California, Connecticut and New York.
Six provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should come up for target practice next week on the Capitol Hill shooting range. Included in a budget reconciliation measure before the House of Representatives are such items as repeal of the individual mandate, employer mandate, Independent Payment Advisory Board, medical device tax, and auto-enrollment of workers in larger businesses. None of those clay pigeons are likely to suffer any permanent harm, given the certainty of a veto if the bill manages to get to President Obama’s desk. But the latest political contortions over one particular provision — the so-called Cadillac tax – are particularly rich in circular irony and evasion.
Health insurance enrollment data for 2014 shows that the number of Americans with health insurance increased by 9.25 million during the year. However, the vast majority of the increase was the result of 8.99 million individuals being added to the Medicaid rolls. While enrollment in private individual-market plans increased by almost 4.79 million, most of that gain was offset by a reduction of 4.53 million in the number of people with employment-based group coverage. Thus, the net increase in private health insurance in 2014 was just 260,000 people.