Obamacare enrollment: More questions than answers

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On March 27 – four days before the once-firm deadline for open enrollment in Obamacare – the White House announced a new sign-up figure of 6 million. [1] Sounds impressive until you read the fine print and realize the details for that figure pretty much end there.

Even if we take the 6 million at face value, it doesn’t necessarily mean 6 million people have enrolled in state or federal exchanges and are currently paying their premiums. It simply means 6 million Americans have selected a plan online. However, the administration’s numbers don’t tell us how many will actually end up with Obamacare coverage, and stay that way.

Have any of these people made a payment?   Will they make one next month … and the month after … and the month after that?  If you haven’t paid are you really “enrolled” in anything?We are also missing other key data points that needed to qualify that 6 million figure. Who are those people? Are they old? Young? Where do they live? Will insurance companies have to raise rates next year? The list goes on.

Earlier this week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp accused the administration and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of “misleading” Congress and even withholding information about Obamacare’s first six months. [2]  Camp claims Seblius does know the number of people who have actually obtained coverage and paid on their premiums. So why the secrecy? Could it be because the actual number of those covered by Obamacare is much lower? It’s possible.

According to a new AP poll, only 26 percent of Americans like Obamacare. [3]The poll also found that support for the Affordable Care Act dropped 13 percent from 2010, and the number of people on the fence has tripled from 10 to 30 percent. Now contrast that to March of 2009, exactly five years ago, when a CNN poll revealed over 80 percent of Americans said they liked their health care and nearly 3 out of 4 said they liked their coverage. [4]

Most Americans know what we know, Obamacare isn’t popular. The federal government has no business overhauling an entire industry, forcing people to buy a product, or making companies pay for medications they find morally objectionable.

If that weren’t enough, the last six months have only shown that the government is the last entity that should be trusted with operating a health care system (or understanding that throwing more money at a problem doesn’t fix it [5]).  It may be months before we know the real numbers behind Obamacare’s first six months of existence. While the government stonewalls, we’ll be fighting for repeal.