Tags: Healthcare Reform | Obamacare | 2015 enrollment

HHS: Obamacare Enrollment to Be 4 Million Short of CBO Forecast

By    |   Tuesday, 11 Nov 2014 01:11 PM

More bad news for Obamacare arrived on Monday with news that the administration had lowered its expectations for 2015 enrollment to 9.1 million people, which is 30 percent lower than a Congressional Budget Office forecast of 13 million.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell made the announcement in an address to the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, reported CBS News.

Some healthcare experts say that lowering enrollment expectations is a sensible approach in order to avoid greater disappointment if the goals are not met.

“If you set low expectations, you’re not going to disappoint,” Dan Mendelson, CEO of the consulting firm Avalere Health, told Politico. “It makes a lot of sense for them to put a stake in the ground.”

A recent survey from Bankrate underscores the wisdom of not setting goals too high. According to the survey, just over half (51 percent) of those in the exchange said they do plan to return for round two, which begins on Saturday.

It is just the latest blow to President Barack Obama's signature legislation.

In addition to the Republican takeover of the Senate, last Friday the Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a lawsuit that challenges the insurance subsidies at the heart of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In that case, the justices will consider whether individuals can simultaneously receive subsidies and purchase policies through the federal exchange. At least 34 states do not have their own markets, reports The Insurance Journal.

The Supreme Court's grant of cert, however, could have a negative effect regardless of how the justices rule.

"But even if the justices make no such ruling, the very act of taking up the challenge to the law will itself undermine the law. The justices announced their decision just a week before the open-enrollment period for 2015 begins — and the looming possibility that the high court will strike down the law will probably deter those who are considering signing up for its coverage," contends Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank.

If these subsidies are struck down by the Supreme Court, experts say millions of people could see their insurance become much more expensive, causing them to drop out of the program. This could lead to what's known as the "death spiral," which would occur when healthy individuals opt out of the individual insurance market, leaving primarily sick people to bear the burden of higher insurance prices to obtain guaranteed coverage.

A recently-discovered video featuring Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Jonathan Gruber, one of the law's main architects, could further undermine the credibility of Obamacare.

Gruber was on a panel discussing how the law was written in such a manner as to avoid an accurate scoring by the Congressional Budget Office.

"If CBO scored the [individual] mandate as taxes, the bill dies," Gruber said. "If you had a law that made it explicit that healthy people are going to pay in and sick people are going to get subsidies, it would not have passed," he added.

He also said a "lack of transparency" and the "stupidity of the American voter" helped ensure the law's passage.

Watch the video here

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More bad news for Obamacare arrived on Monday with news that the administration had lowered its expectations for 2015 enrollment to 9.1 million people, which is 30 percent lower than a Congressional Budget Office forecast of 13 million.
Obamacare, 2015 enrollment
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2014-11-11
Tuesday, 11 Nov 2014 01:11 PM
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