The Obamacare enrollment on the healthcare exchanges fell short of expectations because Americans believe the law already was repealed, according to a federal elected official.
Obamacare needs seven million enrollees by March 31 to adequately pay for the insurance program, as per Obama administration projections. Only about one million persons have now supposedly signed up, and it remains to be seen how many will actually cough up the necessary premium payments.
When asked on MSNBC today if the March goal is achievable, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the District of Columbia in the US House, expressed confidence, particularly because of the individual mandate requirement.
“Oh, sure,” she said. Noting that it is human nature to wait until the last minute, she added, “When that fine is going to kick in, you’re going to see people trotting to sign on like you’ve never seen it before.”
She then addressed herself to the Obamacare repeal notion which she laid at the doorstep of the GOP:
“What we have been battling now is, first, every time the House couldn’t think of anything else to do, it had a big debate on repealing Obamacare. So, there are millions of people out there who think it was repealed. So there was no way to break through that very easily.”
The botched rollout of HealthCare.gov also fed into the repeal perception, Norton asserted:
“… the debacle of a website, which seemed to confirm that it must have been repealed or should have been repealed. Now for the first time, after weathering the most negative propaganda campaign from within the Congress in history, and the worst website, we’re able to get out what’s really happening.”
Rep. Holmes Norton’s comments seem somewhat ironic, considering when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and others tried to delay or defund Obamacare, they were bitterly denounced and ridiculed on both sides of the political aisle, as well as in the media.
Given the insistence by Cruz’s foes that Obamacare was the “law of the land” and shouldn’t be tampered with, it’s an interesting assertion that even the most so-called low- or no-information voter would be under the impression that Obamacare was repealed. The GOP House has voted about 40 times to repeal Obamacare, but it got nowhere in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
That being said, with the further irony of many unilateral delays, postponements, and waivers that the Obama administration itself has announced as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the repeal perception is not so out of line.
Under the Obamacare individual mandate, the fee for not having insurance in 2014 is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child or 1% of your taxable income (up to $285 for a family), whichever is greater. The fee (which Chief Justice John Roberts interpreted as a tax in the 5-4 decision upholding the individual mandate) increases sharply over the next several years.
Separately, Obamacare supporter Howard Dean, a medical doctor and former Vermont governor who ran for the Democrat nomination for president in 2004, said today, “The individual mandate was not necessary and it’s probably a big political thing, and that is going to hurt the Democrats because people don’t like to be told what to do by the government no matter what party they’re in.” He added, “the insurance companies like it because it does bring young, healthy people who aren’t likely to get sick into the system.” Yesterday, Dean admitted that some consumers may get “screwed” by Obamacare in terms of higher premiums.
Without mentioning her, Dean also previously joined former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin in denouncing the healthcare rationing group established by Obamacare called the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which Palin famously referred to as a death panel.
Discussing workers who get their medical coverage via their small business employers, an insurance broker told NBC News that he was surprised “how many people are losers versus winners… There are some people who do come out ahead, but I would say the overwhelming majority, they’re paying much higher rates and they have lower benefits.”
When Big Government, Big Insurance, and Big Pharma get together in a joint venture, it’s difficult to see how the ordinary consumer comes out ahead.
Do you think that Obamacare will add seven million enrollees in the next three months? Do you accept the premise that insurance-seeking Americans were discouraged by a so-called propaganda campaign suggesting the Obamacare was already repealed?