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Obamacare Succeeds or Fails on This One Number


One of the biggest challenges facing Obamacare is adverse selection, which occurs when healthy people drop out of the insurance pool, leaving only the sick and the old behind. We’ve always known Obamacare needed to enroll a large number of new patients to avoid adverse selection and make the law work. Now we know what number the administration  thinks is viable.

Politico reports that HHS has announced a concrete figure. Secretary Sebelius has embraced a CBO projection that 7 million new insured by the end of March is the magic number. This is the first milestone Obamacare needs to reach on its way to adding 24 million new insured by 2023. Failure to achieve it will be a very bad sign for the future of the law. Presumably officials have done the math and figured out that they need at least this many more people in the risk pool to avoid major rate increases.

Enrollment starts in October, so the administration has just six months to make this happen. Game on.

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  • Stacy Garvey

    And you trust the math of the CBO and HHS? Really? No, it’s another arbitrary number pulled out of someone’s a**. They’ll fudge and fudge and fudge again, until it “works”. All the time, costs will be increasing.

    • rheddles

      And they will turn it into demand for single payer. Whatever it is.

  • AnnSaltzafrazz

    So, 7 million people are about to take a $300/month hit to their income. And the economic impact of this on the economy will be??? It will suck 25 Billion out of the hands of individuals (in the heavily desired young, free-spending demographic) and hand it over to the healthcare establishment.

  • ljgude

    I just sit here enjoying my popcorn watching the fun. When you start with US healthcare costing 17.5% of GDP and Switzerland’s similar private insurance based system running at 11%, worrying over some threshold of people taking up insurance is like rearranging those well known deck chairs. There is just no way the country can sustain that high a percentage of its GDP going to healthcare. I think the new system is very likely not make its thresholds and that fudging on a grand scale will take place but eventually the system will not work. In Australia we pit the private and public systems against each other. If access to the private system through insurance becomes too expensive – I pay $2000 a year for example – then people drop their insurance and rely on the public system. If the waiting lists get too long in the public system people take out private insurance. It is obviously more complicated than that and there are problems here too, but as long as i am not subject to it, the US medical system, despite its excellent medicine, is an entertaining schlimazel.

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