Saturday, December 3, 2016

Patients

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ObamaCare might have survived its Supreme Court challenges so far–but it’s clear that the law just isn’t working for the people it was supposed to help.

Between March and June, ObamaCare’s state exchanges–which cover 29 states, plus the District of Columbia–lost a whopping 238,119 enrollees. That’s about 2.5% of the total enrollees who bailed on the controversial healthcare system–a substantial drop, considering it happened in just a couple of months.

“The poor performance of the program is bad news for the long-term sustainability of the federal and state Obamacare exchanges given their reliance on paying enrollees to meet costs,” explained Americans for Tax Reform, the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that analyzed the federal data.

“Exchanges typically fund their operations through a fee on premiums: the federal exchange that provides 37 states with coverage charges a 3.5 percent premium, while state exchanges are free to choose their own rate. Fewer enrollees could signal the beginning of a death spiral for the Obamacare exchanges.”

Fear of a so-called “death spiral” for ObamaCare has long been around–expressed by some even before the controversial law was passed in 2010.

It comes from the idea that, as costs go up, younger, healthier Americans will opt to pay the small fine, rather than sink more and more money into healthcare payments that they don’t need or want. As healthier enrollees leave, monthly healthcare premiums become more expensive to cover a sicker pool of subscribers, which causes even more enrollees to leave–and so on, until the system becomes unsustainable.

Only time will tell whether quarterly drop in enrollees was an anomaly, or whether it’s the beginning of the practical end for ObamaCare as a workable healthcare system–even if the law manages to stay on the books.

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