After five years, two midterm disasters, and a rollout that reminded Americans why they fell out of love with big government in the 1970s, reality has finally begun to dawn on some Democrats about Obamacare. With open enrollment about to start and a third straight round of premium spikes about to hit voters’ pockets, the Democrats’ leading presidential candidate has offered a “major break” with the Obama administration on its signature domestic policy achievement.
ObamaCare is heading toward a death spiral.
The Obama administration is having trouble selling insurance plans to healthy people. That’s a big problem: When the young and healthy don’t enroll, premiums have to be hiked to cover the costs of older, sicker people, discouraging even more young people from signing up.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) is throwing up roadblocks to the confirmation of two top Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) nominees over what he describes as “systematic failures” of an ObamaCare program for start-up insurers.
“I will act to block consideration and confirmation of every [HHS] nominee until families who lost their co-op insurance plans get straight answers,” Sasse announced in a press release Monday.
As startup insurers born of Obamacare collapse nationwide, the one in Illinois is drastically limiting enrollment to last for the long haul.
Land of Lincoln Health, one of 23 so-called health insurance co-ops backed by federal loans, is capping enrollment for the signup period that begins Nov. 1. The health plan has about 55,000 members, including individuals and businesses. It wants to end 2016 with only about 15,000 more.
A total of 41 percent said the ACA would be “very important” in determining their vote. Another 33 percent said it would be “somewhat important,” according to the survey, which had a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.
On October 15, the Obama administration significantly downgraded its estimate of how many people will enroll in exchange plans next year. The administration now expects only 10 million exchange enrollees at the end of 2016. Charles Gaba, a statistical expert who closely tracks Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment and who made fairly accurate projections for 2014 and 2015, is somewhat more optimistic. He projects enrollment at 12.2 million people by the end of next year.
A year before they will go to the polls to elect a new president, a strong majority of Americans say that President Barack Obama’s health-care reform law will play an important role in how they select his successor.
With the Affordable Care Act’s third open enrollment period to begin in less than two weeks, federal officials are racing to fix new features of HealthCare.gov that are supposed to make it easy for consumers to find insurance plans that cover their doctors and prescription drugs.
A school district in Tennessee is shutting classroom doors because of the added costs of Obamacare. Jerry Strong, the Clay County Director of Schools, told the Associated Press, “the Affordable Care Act… has made it very difficult for us to have our employees properly covered and meet the mandates of the law.” The school district was already struggling with their budget, “struggling with budget concerns for three years.”
Among many other changes to the health care system, the ACA created an expansion of Medicaid – made optional by the Supreme Court in 2012 – funded largely by federal dollars. Thus far, 30 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the Medicaid expansion. And as should be expected, states that expanded the program have seen spending grow much faster than those that didn’t. In a recent report, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that total Medicaid spending grew nearly 18 percent in expansion states, though the state share of growth was relatively low (less than 4 percent). And while health care has remained relatively quiet as a campaign issue, Governors Kasich and Christie – both Republican presidential hopefuls – expanded Medicaid (and both have defended this expansion) in their respective states.