By Robert A. Vella
The Washington Post has reported the initial enrollment figures for the Affordable Care Act. In the first six weeks since implementation, about 40,000 individuals have signed up for private insurance through the federally-run national healthcare exchange HealthCare.gov. An additional 49,000 have signed up for private insurance through the state-run exchanges. At least 440,000 people have enrolled in the expansion of Medicaid. Although these figures are less than what had been projected, they are still evidence that Obamacare is accomplishing its primary objective in providing health care for the previously uninsured.
Because the insurance industry is now cancelling some plans despite repeated assurances to the contrary from President Obama, calls for allowing people to keep those “junk” insurance policies are heating up in Congress. Some Democratic Party members from swing states in the House and Senate are likely to support legislative efforts to address this issue; however, Wonkblog’s Sarah Kliff has warned that doing so will likely increase health insurance premiums across the board which would undermine the ACA’s secondary objective to make health care affordable. From: Want to reverse Obamacare’s cancellations? Then you’re going to have to raise premiums.
I canvassed a half-dozen health policy experts Tuesday about whether it would be possible to reverse or address the cancellation notices sent out to an estimated 7 million to 12 million Americans.
The consensus seemed to be this: Yes, there are potential solutions. But they entail painful trade offs. And yes, it would be messy for the health care law.
“There’s a lot of harm doing the things you might do,” says Sara Lueck, a health policy analyst at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. “There’s just so many potentially bad effects for the insurance exchanges.”