Survey Shows Obamacare Has Covered 57 Percent of Uninsured, Critics Say Numbers Are Deceptive
A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that approximately 57 percent of Obamacare signups were uninsured prior to the implementation of Obamacare.
Of that number, seven of 10 said they got insurance because of the law, while the remainder said they were planning on getting coverage anyways. Despite the increase in the coverage, critics say this number fails to prove that Obamacare is achieving its goal of truly covering the uninsured.
The Obama administration has failed to produce ACA enrollment numbers since the end of March, and it’s difficult to know exactly how many enrollees were previously uninsured. According to President Obama, as of March 31, eight million people had signed up under Obamacare.
According to reports from the Daily Signal, that number is a bit deceptive. The eight million signups included those who had insurance prior to Obamacare. In some cases, they switched over voluntarily.
In other cases, they switched over by force because their existing plans were canceled for failing to fit with Obamacare’s new guidelines for health insurance policy.
Edmund Haislmaier, a health-care expert for the Heritage Foundation, said those sign-ups do not reflect an increase in the number of insured.
“If you’ve got coverage now and a government program offers a replacement with more subsidies, then you’re going to have an incentive to move to that,” Haislmaier said. “No doubt it helps people by helping them buy something that they already had. … But it isn’t a net increase.”
In addition, many of these previously insured customers experienced a spike in premiums under Obamacare.
Health policy analyst, Robert Laszewski, said this isn’t surprising.
“It was not uncommon to see [insurers] increase their [rates] by 35 percent to bring policies into compliance with Obamacare,” Laszewski said. “So, they have the same relatively healthy people with perhaps more benefits but for 35 percent more premium. That may be good news for the insurance companies but not for the individuals who are forced to pay more than a third more.”
The Daily Signal also estimates that one-third to one-half of those covered by Obamacare were previously uninsured before the health-care marketplace opened. But the number of truly uninsured has never been clear-cut. Critics quote the number that champions of Obamacare often use: Roughly 45.7 million uninsured.
Using that estimate, of the 45.7 millionuninsured, 11.8 million were eligible for public health coverage, but never signed up. An additional 18.3 million of those uninsured were young people who chose not to be covered and nearly 10 million of those uninsured were immigrants — both illegal and legal.
The remaining number included those who were in transition periods. If those numbers proved to be true, the final number of uninsured Americans before the implementation of Obamacare was less than five percent of the U.S. population.
The Daily Signal also notes that Obamacare’s massive Medicaid expansion might be puffing up the true “previously uninsured” enrollment numbers.
Last month, Forbes reported that Medicaid signups grew 15 percent in the states that embraced the expansion, which brings the number to roughly six million newly insured.
CMS projects that Medicaid enrollees will reach 8.6 million in 2014. The Daily Signal also notes that this can be attributed to the 26 states that have embraced Medicaid expansion. The federal government will be picking up the tab for the next three years, but then the burden will gradually shift back to the states.
According to information for a Gallup Daily tracking poll, five percent of Americans claim to be newly insured so far this year, but only 2.8 percent of those people actually gained coverage under Obamacare.
With these numbers, critics say they can only assume the numbers of paying customers and those who were truly uninsured prior to Obamacare are very few. (RELATED: Just Before Deadline, Obamacare Reaches Lowest Approval Rating Ever)