Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

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17 January 2017

Repealing ObamaCare Costs How Many People Coverage?

Those who advocate the retention of ObamaCare are claiming highly exaggerated losses of coverage due to its repeal.  They assume that no new coverage will come into play upon its repeal.  HHS Secretary Burwell cited a claim that 30 million Americans will lose their coverage.  Many others are claiming that 20 million will lose their coverage.  These exaggerations are exactly as I predicted here.

First, as I noted here, only 11.1 million people were covered for the year in 2016, though 12.7 million signed up for coverage on ObamaCare health insurance websites.  They are very trusting people to sign up and to provide their social security numbers on those very incompetent exchanges.  But I digress.  The lower 11.1 million people number is found by adding up the monthly premium payments and dividing by 12.  But you can be sure that the advocates of ObamaCare use the 12.7 million number and have no regard for the fact that the 6 million who lost coverage due to ObamaCare are now proportional to the population growth as 6.1 million who would have been happy to stay on their old plans, especially now that they will have to soon make more changes due to the many instabilities that ObamaCare has introduced.  Subtract 6.1 million whose loss of insurance the ObamaCare advocates originally did not care about from 11.1 million and one has only 5.0 million on ObamaCare of new enrollees.

The ObamaCare insurance loss alarmists count all of the new enrollees on Medicaid compared to 2013 as being covered by ObamaCare as well.  As I noted here, of the 17 million new enrollees into Medicaid in 2014, only 3.3 million were newly eligible for coverage as a result of state expansions of Medicaid benefits as a result of ObamaCare.  It is clear that the claim that 30 million will lose their insurance comes from adding 17 million added people on Medicaid to 12.7 million who paid some portion of their premiums on ObamaCare purchased insurance in 2016.  It is also clear that this is a very dishonest number.

A more honest number is that of adding the additional 5.0 million insured under ObamaCare exchanges from the fully paid premium equivalent number to the 3.3 million added due to the expansion of Medicaid coverage by states under the ObamaCare law.  That gives us 8.3 million people.  But even that is dishonest.

Why?  One of the reasons this is dishonest because in 2014 alone employers dropped the health insurance coverage of 2 million people under their employer plans.  Small businesses alone dropped coverage for 2.2 million people as a result of ObamaCare and some unknown degree of reduction due to the super-extended poor growth Obama economy, some of which is also due to ObamaCare.  What is more, prior to ObamaCare, the number of people covered under employer plans had expanded year after year, so that growth in employer coverage was lost.  So, conservatively, we subtract another 2 million from the number of people who will lose coverage due to the repeal of ObamaCare.  We are now at 6.3 million people.

But in reality, these 6.3 million people will have the option to go without health insurance after the repeal, which may be wise if they are healthy or so rich that they can reasonably be self-insured.  In 2017, the wealthy will not be able to afford to lose 2.5% of their income to ObamaCare penalties, so they will have to buy ObamaCare health insurance no matter how little they need it, unless it is repealed.  Then ending ObamaCare will bring many employers back to offering insurance plans for their employees.  Many more cost effective private plans will come into existence, once the ObamaCare straitjackets are removed.  ObamaCare requires too many doctor visits and doctors offer much less treatment per visit since it was passed.  This is the usual practice with government-controlled health care.  It becomes very inconvenient, so people use it less and get less for the cost of the coverage.  Without ObamaCare, there will be a return to competition in the medical insurance market as well.  Most areas of the country now have only one or two insurers offering ObamaCare health insurance plans.  This is not good for costs.  High costs keep many from enrolling in health care insurance.

So, if the Republicans do nothing to replace ObamaCare, the net number of people losing health insurance will be fewer than lost it when ObamaCare was put in place.  If 6 million people happy with their insurance then did not matter, how can the advocates of ObamaCare claim that the less than 6 million people dependent upon ObamaCare will matter now.  In fact, the repeal of ObamaCare does not mean that those people added to Medicaid due to its expansion in some states will not continue to be covered by Medicaid in those states.  That 3.3 million people were almost entirely the responsibility of the states after 3 years under ObamaCare in any case.  2016 was the third year. Federal subsidy payments were scheduled to plummet in 2017 anyway.  This is why many states did not allow themselves to be hooked into expanding their Medicaid rolls.  So, the repeal of ObamaCare will actually result in fewer than 3 million people losing their health care insurance relative to the before ObamaCare number.

Only Democrat Socialists can get away with pretending that fewer than 3 million people are 30 million people or sometimes only 20 million people.  These are the same people who claimed that 47 million Americans were uninsured before ObamaCare and then in 2014 stopped counting the many millions of illegal immigrants as among those uninsured to make ObamaCare look as though it was much more effective in providing health insurance than it actually was.  Tricky Dicks, these socialists.  Too bad we do not have a free press willing to keep them honest.

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