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Why the White House is Panicking About ObamaCare
Townhall.com ^ | July 13, 2013 | John C. Goodman

Posted on 07/13/2013 12:27:33 PM PDT by Kaslin

Actors. Actresses. NFL football players. Baseball players. Librarians. Mayors. City councilmen. Members of AARP.

The Obama administration is looking far and wide, leaving no stone unturned in a relentless search for…well…for help.

Help with what? Help with getting people to enroll in health insurance plans this fall.

And why is that? Because the administration is facing the very real possibility that its signature piece of legislation may fall flat on its face.

Last week's announcement that the employer mandate will be delayed for a year and that income verification for people getting subsidies will also be delayed are the latest signs of trouble. The next shoe to drop may be the failure for people to obtain (ObamaCare) insurance — even if it's free or highly subsidized.

Consider this:

· About one in every four individuals who are eligible for Medicaid in this country has not bothered to enroll.

· About one in five employees who are offered employer-provided health insurance turns it down; among workers under 30 years of age, the refusal rate is almost one in three.

Think about that for a moment. Millions of people are turning down (Medicaid) health insurance, even though it's free! Millions of others are turning down their employers' offers. Since employees pay about 27% of the cost of their health insurance, on the average, millions of workers are passing up the opportunity to buy health insurance for 27 cents on the dollar.

You almost never read statistics like these in the mainstream media. Why? Because they completely undermine health policy orthodoxy: the belief that health insurance (even Medicaid) is economically very valuable, that it improves health and saves lives, and that the main reason why people don't have it is that they can't afford it.

Welcome to the huge disconnect in health reform. On the one hand there are the people who are supposed to benefit from health reform. On the other hand there are the people who talk about it and write about it. I think it's fair to say these two groups almost never meet.

Study after study has purported to have found that health insurance improves health, saves lives, makes people happier, etc., etc. But these studies almost always ignore two cardinal facts:

· We have made it increasingly easy in this country for the uninsured to obtain health care after they get sick.

· We have also made it increasingly easy for people to get health insurance after they get sick.

Both developments reduce the incentive to spend time and money enrolling in a health plan.

I have described before the experience of emergency room care in Dallas:

At Parkland Memorial Hospital both uninsured and Medicaid patients enter the same emergency room door and see the same doctors. The hospital rooms are the same, the beds are the same and the care is the same. As a result, patients have no reason to fill out the lengthy forms and answer the intrusive questions that Medicaid enrollment so often requires. At Children's Medical Center, next door to Parkland, a similar exercise takes place. Medicaid, CHIP and uninsured children all enter the same emergency room door; they all see the same doctors and receive the same care.

Interestingly, at both institutions, paid staffers make a heroic effort to enroll people in public programs ? working patient by patient, family by family right there in the emergency room. Yet they apparently fail more than half the time! After patients are admitted, staffers go from room to room, continuing with this bureaucratic exercise. But even among those in hospital beds, the failure-to-enroll rate is significant.

Clearly, Medicaid enrollment is important to hospital administrators. It determines how they get paid. Enrollment may also be important to different sets of taxpayers. It means federal taxpayers pay more and Dallas County taxpayers pay less. But aside from the administrative, accounting and financial issues, is there any social reason we should care?

Economics teaches that people reveal these preferences through their actions. If people act as though they are indifferent between being uninsured and being on Medicaid, we may infer ? based on this behavior ? they are equally well off in both states of the world from their own point of view.

Against this conclusion, advocates of "behavioral economics" might argue that people don't know what's best for them. They have to be "nudged." Seeing a football star on TV encouraging young men to enroll in a health plan might do the trick. But for the Obama administration that doesn't solve the problem. People need more than an initial nudge. They have to be nudged every month.

Take Massachusetts. That state cut its uninsurance rate in half. But the main vehicle was Section 125 plans set up by employers. These accounts allow employees to pay their share of the premiums with pre-tax dollars and they are mandatory. Further, for lower-income employees the insurance is highly subsidized by the state. More to the point, under this arrangement, the employee's contribution is automatically deducted every pay period.

Under ObamaCare, similarly situated individuals are going to be expected to pay a monthly premium the way they pay their utility bills. But with this difference. When people don't pay their electricity bills, the utility cuts off their electricity. When they don't play their rent, the landlord throws them out in the street. But when they don't pay their health insurance premium, what happens then? Not much.

Why is it so important to the administration to have people enroll? If they don't enroll in Medicaid, I don't think it matters very much. But if they don't enroll in private plans sold in health insurance exchanges, it will matter a great deal. Remember, these will be artificial markets in which insurance will be underpriced to the sick and overpriced to the healthy. A lengthy, complicated enrollment process will further discourage those with no health problems.

But if the only people who enroll are those who are sick, the average premium will go through the roof. A death spiral will ensue as ever increasing premiums price more and more buyers out of the market, leaving only those whose expected medical expenses exceed those high premiums.

The bright side of all this is a possible teaching moment. The whole nation may be treated to one vast demonstration of why prices matter.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; US: Massachusetts
KEYWORDS: 0bamascare; abortion; deathpanels; healthinsurance; house; obamacare; whitehouse; zerocare

1 posted on 07/13/2013 12:27:33 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Sorry, no, on the final sentence of the article. Low information people do not learn; they blame.


2 posted on 07/13/2013 12:37:04 PM PDT by lurk
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To: Kaslin

Notice how they never mention the obvious?

Medicaid means that the government owns your body!


3 posted on 07/13/2013 12:38:21 PM PDT by SatinDoll (NATURAL BORN CITIZEN: BORN IN THE USA OFCITIZEN PARENTS)
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To: Kaslin

If it’s that good we should demand that every senator and congress person and thier families sign up and be subjected to the very bill they voted for!


4 posted on 07/13/2013 12:39:34 PM PDT by ronnie raygun (Yesterdays conspiracies are todays truths)
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To: Kaslin
Because the Obama legacy OWNES "OBAMACRUD"
AND IT AIN'T WORKIN !!

5 posted on 07/13/2013 12:42:47 PM PDT by Tilted Irish Kilt (“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” - Ronald Reagan)
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To: Kaslin

Zerocare reminds me of Hillarycare, except they moved the ball much further than before, but with the same backlash.

When push comes to shove, most people don’t like to be pushed or shoved into something that effects them personally regardless of the “greater good”

Sad, that this POS law has been able to get this far.

D.B.D.

Dead Before Delivery.


6 posted on 07/13/2013 12:43:32 PM PDT by Zeneta (No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.)
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To: lurk

Let them blame that witch...and run her out of town on a broom. That photo of her and that gavel should be on billboards in every city, along every highway...along with you wanted it, you got it. Now, choke on it. Stupid sheep.


7 posted on 07/13/2013 12:44:46 PM PDT by SueRae (It isn't over. In God We Trust.)
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To: Kaslin

Kill the damn thing (ObamaCare) before it kills us. And drive a stake through its evil communist heart so it can never rise again!


8 posted on 07/13/2013 12:45:43 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God!!)
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To: Tilted Irish Kilt
Because the Obama legacy OWNES "OBAMACRUD" AND IT AIN'T WORKIN !!
ANYMORE THAN HE ISD WORKING ON JOBS while in martha's Vineyard

He is the MOST VACATIONING pRESIDENT THAT WE HAVE EVER HAD !

9 posted on 07/13/2013 12:45:58 PM PDT by Tilted Irish Kilt (“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” - Ronald Reagan)
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To: Kaslin

Parkland in Dallas and the major public hospital in nearby Fort Worth were reporting that half or more of the babies born there had illegal immigrant mothers. While I’d believe that in Laredo and other places by the border, it seemed unlikely in a city only half Hispanic, with many Hispanics here multiple generations.
It turns out that if you claim to be illegal and thus have no legal paperwork, they roll out the bandwagon. They assume you cannot pay, so there is no bill. The baby gets freebies for the indigent, like a free car seat, bag of free formula and free cribs when they have them. A friend of mine was furious when her teenaged daughter had a baby; they were clearly going to be financially stressed, but they received a fraction of the freebies because the new mother was white. All those who could get away with it said “yo no Americano”, got the freebies and still received citizenship for the babies.


10 posted on 07/13/2013 12:47:47 PM PDT by tbw2
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To: Kaslin

I don’t trust the medical profession. I’m a little less distrustful if I’m paying for services and I’m deciding what’s best for me.


11 posted on 07/13/2013 12:51:47 PM PDT by grania
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To: Kaslin
I question the Medicaid numbers. You may qualify to be considered for Medicaid based upon your income - and that is an easy stat to quantify - BUT you have to be darned near destitute to actually qualify and get coverage. Got a retirement account? Too bad, that makes you ineligible. Life insurance policy with any value? Ditto. Own your home even though it is mortgaged to the hilt? Too bad again. ANY assets beyond about $3K? Nope, no Medicaid for you.

The gubermint knows your income but they do not know your net worth and it is the latter that really drives Medicaid eligibility. So any stats about the number of people turning down "free" Medicaid are misleading because they are missing half the picture.

12 posted on 07/13/2013 1:54:42 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Unindicted Co-conspirators: The Mainstream Media)
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To: NonValueAdded
Got a retirement account? Too bad, that makes you ineligible. Life insurance policy with any value? Ditto. Own your home even though it is mortgaged to the hilt? Too bad again. ANY assets beyond about $3K? Nope, no Medicaid for you.

That really isn't true in many states. Two years ago we were evaluated by the State of Washington for Medicaid eligibility (totally unilaterally on their part -- we did not apply or even inquire). The house and assets and even IRA were no problems -- the other thing that prevented us from being enrolled was the withdrawals from the IRA I made that year (counts as income). I understand that Expanded Medicaid will be pretty much the same as the situation in my state -- pretty much open to all subject to income limits (no asset test).

13 posted on 07/13/2013 2:30:32 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not Nurture™)
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To: steve86

Instead of “the other thing” should read “the only thing”.


14 posted on 07/13/2013 2:31:33 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not Nurture™)
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To: Kaslin
“About one in five employees who are offered employer-provided health insurance turns it down;”

I did that a few years ago. I already had Blue Cross, and since the 100% of the cost of the employer policy was born by the employee and the coverage stunk to boot, I could not see dropping it. I since changed employers. The new policy is much better and 95% covered, so I dropped BCBS. I liked having my own policy, though.

15 posted on 07/13/2013 2:34:10 PM PDT by beef (Who Killed Kennewick Man?)
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To: Jim Robinson
Kill the damn thing (ObamaCare) before it kills us. And drive a stake through its evil communist heart so it can never rise again!

I read all of these "Obama is worried about ObamaCare" stories, but where are the Republicans in Congress who are fighting this tooth and nail? Then again, I was hoping the Republicans in Congress were going to fight the IRS and NSA stuff tooth and nail, and they seem to be letting it drop off the radar....
16 posted on 07/13/2013 2:36:06 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: All

Nice to see the republicans taking advantage of this disastrous second term. I swear they are the absolute stupidest bunch of idiots in the history of creation.

IRS Scandal, NSA Scandal, Health Care DISASTER, ...don’t focus on any of that!!! lets piss off our base and pass immigration reform.

Freaking idiots beyond all reason and understanding


17 posted on 07/13/2013 2:40:58 PM PDT by thestob (Marco Rubio is a liar, and he thinks that you're a fool)
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To: af_vet_rr

The GOP has as much interest in getting rid of Obamacare as the NAACP has in ridding the country of racism. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. I believe there are more elected democrats that would like to get rid of Obamacare than republicans. For the democrats it’s an albatross; for the GOP it’s a cash magnet and election issue.


18 posted on 07/13/2013 2:46:20 PM PDT by huckfillary (qual tyo ta)
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To: Kaslin

Are people waking up to the fact that your friendly IRS agent will know all about all of your health issues, your income, and nearly every aspect of your life?


19 posted on 07/13/2013 2:57:50 PM PDT by SERKIT ("Blazing Saddles" explains it all.......)
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To: Kaslin

If the conservatives in Congress succeed in delaying the Individual Mandate as well it will be giving cover to the kenyan and the whole obamacare bill. Better the individual mandate stays in place as written and insufficient people sign up for it.


20 posted on 07/13/2013 2:59:36 PM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's EcThomics In One Lesson ONLINE http://steshaw.org/econohttp://www.fee.org/library/det)
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To: Tilted Irish Kilt

The kenyan is a typical African potentate of a century ago, a perfumed prince.The only thing lacking is a stable of wives and concubines and sex slaves,. He makes do with Love.


21 posted on 07/13/2013 3:02:43 PM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's EcThomics In One Lesson ONLINE http://steshaw.org/econohttp://www.fee.org/library/det)
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To: af_vet_rr

The Republicans in Congress offer only desultory opposition because they are the Democrat Party’e Designated Opposition wing and the DNC and Soros want a picture of a weak opposition to actually strengthen their imposition of Obamacare. It precludes a real opposition.


22 posted on 07/13/2013 3:07:40 PM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's EcThomics In One Lesson ONLINE http://steshaw.org/econohttp://www.fee.org/library/det)
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To: Kaslin

“But if the only people who enroll are those who are sick, the average premium will go through the roof. A death spiral will ensue as ever increasing premiums price more and more buyers out of the market, leaving only those whose expected medical expenses exceed those high premiums.”

Exactly what I told my brother. Economics - it’s the law!


23 posted on 07/13/2013 3:12:15 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge ("we are pilgrims in an unholy land")
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To: Kaslin
At Parkland Memorial Hospital both uninsured and Medicaid patients enter the same emergency room door and see the same doctors. The hospital rooms are the same, the beds are the same and the care is the same. As a result, patients have no reason to fill out the lengthy forms and answer the intrusive questions that Medicaid enrollment so often requires.

So maybe failure wasn't deliberately built in. Maybe Ted Kennedy's mandatory emergency room care will backfire, killing Zippy's dream of socialized medicine.

Wouldn't that be sweet.

24 posted on 07/13/2013 3:12:36 PM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: thestob
IRS Scandal, NSA Scandal, Health Care DISASTER, ...don’t focus on any of that!!! lets piss off our base and pass immigration reform.

Dear Lord, when you put it that way...

Freaking idiots beyond all reason and understanding

Yes!

25 posted on 07/13/2013 3:16:28 PM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: SatinDoll; All

No, actually we own our bodies, and if we are smart we learn how to take care of them. Then we only need a small amount of medical care and Insurance doesn’t have to cost a small fortune, or we all have to pay with excessive emergency room use.


26 posted on 07/13/2013 3:26:45 PM PDT by gleeaikin
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To: Kaslin
IMHO, I really don't think they care even a little bit. They are here to destroy the country.

They don't care how, or by what method.

The fact that kenyancare passed, (we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it) settled everything.

Now, I see gelding pubbies rushing to promote an "alternative" health care bill.

As a country, we are in fact doomed. And those gelding pubbies need to be Tea Bagged, loud and in public.

tea bagging is two way street mofos.

27 posted on 07/13/2013 4:07:22 PM PDT by ConradofMontferrat (According to mudslymz, my handle is a HATE CRIME. And I HOPE they don't like it.)
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To: gleeaikin

I had catastrophic health insurance before it was made basically illegal by Obamacare.

I repeat - the purpose of Obamacare is for the government to own our bodies. That is why no one - NO ONE - with any common sense wants it.

If you want to know why medical care is so expensive then I suggest you start reading the market-ticker.org. Karl Denninger has proven mathematically that it is the medical insurance companies that have caused the huge increases in costs.


28 posted on 07/13/2013 4:58:09 PM PDT by SatinDoll (NATURAL BORN CITIZEN: BORN IN THE USA OFCITIZEN PARENTS)
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