Obamacare: Cancelled plans vastly exceed enrollments so far

Wednesday, January 08, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Obamacare, cancelled plans, healthcare enrollments

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(NaturalNews) One of the many promises made by President Obama and his supporters regarding the Affordable Care Act was that, finally, all Americans would have health insurance.

Well, like most of the other promises regarding the law, this one has been broken as well. In fact, the data is in: More people have lost health insurance coverage because of Obamacare than have been insured by it, as reported by The Daily Caller Jan. 1:

Obamacare may have promised health insurance for the masses. But on its first day, it's left more Americans without coverage than before the law was passed.

More than 4.7 million Americans had their health insurance canceled as a result of any of the thousand-plus-page law's new rules, The Associated Press reports, but the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed Tuesday that between federal and state exchanges, just two million Americans have signed up for Obamacare coverage.

Even single men must buy maternity coverage

As if there is something to hide - like, more bad news - the Obama administration has not made public the actual number of full enrollments, which are only confirmed after customers make their first full payment.

But the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon, a health policy expert, says not everyone who has signed up has actually completed their purchases - and that means that the White House figures might actually be lower than they appear.

Still, even without full, accurate enrollment figures, the net effect of the Affordable Care Act is clear: There are many more cancellations of policies than new sign-ups. As of Jan. 1, all health insurance policies must meet government minimum standards of coverage; those that do not have been dropped (and that figure is in the millions already).

Those are Obamacare's adverse effects: more mandates, which have resulted in less coverage:

The health-care law requires that all insurance plans cover 10 "essential benefits," eliminating millions of plans that don't fit the bill and boosting costs for consumers that have to purchase coverage for services they may not want or need.

All plans must include maternity coverage, for example - including plans for men and post-menopausal women. Even customers without children must purchase plans that cover pediatric services. Other newly established essential benefits include hospitalization, mental-health services and preventive and wellness services.

A grandfather clause contained in the law allows for plans bought before Obamacare was passed in 2010 to remain in effect. Nevertheless, HHS has said between 40 and 67 percent of plans would eventually lose their status and thus cost scores their insurance plans.

Even the White House knows what a mess the law has made, and how disruptive it has become. That's why Obama has been scrambling to mitigate the law's consequences for millions. The president first attempted to reinstate canceled plans for one more year, but many insurers chose not to re-issue them, for one obvious reason: The compliance paperwork and rules were cost-prohibitive.

'Last-minute changes cause instability'

So, the latest rescue attempt - which was announced right before the Jan. 1 deadline to buy health insurance - is to permit those with canceled plans to utilize a one-year "hardship exemption" from the individual mandate. Insurance companies, however, still did not see this as viable or feasible.

"This type of last-minute change will cause tremendous instability in the marketplace and lead to further confusion and disruption for consumers," Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, told reporters recently.

Now, attempts to fix or reverse the cancellations are dying on the vine, so to speak, leaving the Obama administration to backtrack on its enrollment goals. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius once put out a figure of 7 million enrollees that were necessary to ensure Obamacare's financial stability and success. But now, the administration is saying that Obamacare's cumulative net effect is what is most important.

"Ultimately I think I'll be judged on whether this thing is better for people overall," Obama told NBC News' Chuck Todd in November.






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