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We Won’t Be Calling It Obamacare By Next Summer

According to a Bloomberg article this morning, 100,000 people purchased insurance on the federal exchanges in November alone. That’s nearly 4x more than the nearly 27,000 who bought insurance on the federal exchanges in October.

127,000 enrollments nationwide may sound low, but it’s actually very promising for a number of reasons. First off, if you look at when people actually bought health insurance in Massachusetts when they rolled out their own Obamacare, you’ll realize that the lion’s share of enrollments will happen just before the deadline to buy. There’s no empirical reason to believe that the same thing won’t happen nationally.

Secondly, those 127,000 people represent enrollment in just the states who have governors that refused to help their constituents get affordable insurance. That number does not include people in NY, CA, KY, or the other twenty-three states who took the medicaid expansion and set up their own exchanges. California alone has enrolled 80,000 people, and Kentucky has enrolled about 50,000 people so that 127,000 federal enrollment number is already smaller than those of just two states who embraced the ACA. The number of people who have been able to purchase insurance as a result of the ACA is much higher than we’re currently aware of.

Thirdly, you need to look at the trend. A four time multiplier on the number of enrollments from one month to the next is much more telling than the overall number. This is especially true since we’re still four months away from the deadline to buy insurance.

But there is one factor that is more relevant to the success of the ACA than overall enrollment numbers; how many people under the age of 30 are signing up? We don’t yet know what that number is on the federal exchange. I don’t believe we’re going to know that number until March or April. But we do know what is happening in Kentucky. 41% of the people that bought insurance in Kentucky are under 31 years old. That’s a huge percentage that I never saw coming. I suspect (I don’t have the data on any other state yet) that the percentages will be similar in all of the states that elected to take the medicaid expansion, since Kentucky doesn’t have a substantively younger population than any of the other states. I also suspect that the national percentage of under 31s will be lower, absent the medicaid expansion. For the under 30 population in the expansion states, coverage is well under $100 a month. It will be around, or a little bit higher than $100 for those same people who live in states where their governors are trying to undermine Obamacare. It’s reasonable to expect that higher costs will equal lower enrollments. I would be shocked if that 41% were cut in half in the more expensive states. But if we assume that nationally, the under 30 percentage is 20%, we will definitely get the 2.9 million enrollments that we need to keep the current premium levels.

In other words, this reform is most assuredly going to work. None of the early indicators suggest otherwise to me. I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised at how well this is going. I was very skeptical was passed, but I’m always happy to be proven wrong by evidence

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Turning The Tables

I’m an idiot. But in my defense, most people that want comprehensive health reform are idiots so I’m not alone. While watching some footage of interviews with teabaggers, something occurred to me that should have occurred to me months ago. Something so obvious, that I’m an idiot for not having seen it before now.

The biggest complaint that the teabaggers have with the reform bill that passed last month, is that it infringes on their liberty by forcing them to buy health insurance. We (health reform advocates) have been combating this assertion with reason and logic, pointing out that costs are out of control and that there are entirely too many uninsured people that need to be covered. We’ve been doing this all wrong. We need to speak to them in terms they can understand. So, my faithful readers, I have come up with the debate winning talking point on health reform.

Are you ready? This is so freaking simple, you’re going to kick yourself for not having parroted it for months.

We need to let the “liberty lovers” know that yes, they should be forced to buy insurance because we’re tired of supporting their deadbeat asses. They shouldn’t have the option of not having insurance because every time they go to the emergency room, they’re bleeding the rest of us dry. They shouldn’t be allowed to be reckless because doing so foists their bill on us, thereby infringing on our freedom. We work hard to pay our taxes so we shouldn’t be forced to pay extra because they’re too lazy to work hard enough to pay their own way. And while you’re at it, let them know that you wish that the bill provided for throwing the deadbeats in jail for not buying insurance. The threat of prison might stop them from mooching off the rest of us.

Let them know that we’re tired of their self entitled socialist ways! They need to step up and deal with their own shit, because we’re not going to carry them anymore! They need to pick themselves up with their own bootstraps, or else we’re going to beat them with ours.

See? It’s short, simple, and fact-free which means they’ll understand it.

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