But a series of delays by the administration—and decisions by states on implementing the law—have taken a toll. The latest delay came Wednesday, when federal officials said insurance companies could continue selling plans that don't meet the law's more rigorous standards until 2016 in some instances. It was the second time the administration delayed that requirement after the law's tougher standards prompted insurers to cancel millions of people's health plans last year. The latest delay averts another raft of cancellations before this year's midterm elections."
Robert Laszewski, at Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review, has it right:
"The Kaiser Family Foundation has said that 17.2 million people are
eligible both for the new health insurance exchanges and eligible for a
subsidy. Because the direct enrollment function hasn't been working, the
only place a person can get a subsidized policy is on the exchanges.
In reporting their enrollments in February, the administration said that 82% of the exchange enrollments were getting a subsidy.
That means only about 2.5 million subsidy eligible people (82% of 3 million) have so far signed up and paid for their coverage out of a total of 17.2 million eligible––or about 15% of the total the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates are eligible.
And many of these already had coverage––they aren't coming from the ranks of the uninsured that are the people this program was really designed to get to.
Even if the administration gets 20%, or 25%, or 30% of the eligible group signed-up by March 31, that is nowhere near enough to create a sustainable pool. The long-time underwriting rule calls for at least 70% of an eligible group to participate in order to get enough healthy people to pay for the sick who will always show up first for coverage.
Supporters will cite the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections saying a third of the eventual participants will sign up each of the first three years. Why would they? If Obamacare, with all of the attention and promotion it is getting, is not attractive the first year, particularly because of its steep deductibles compared to the after-subsidy premium people must pay, then why would it be attractive in the third year?"
Remember the goals: "Lower Cost. Better Coverage."
Take the federal schemes to expand the supply of housing for people with low incomes. There is Public Housing, Moving to Work, Hope VI, Choice Neighborhoods, Rental Assistance Demonstration, Rental Housing Assistance, Rental Assistance Payment, the Housing Trust Fund, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the Private Activity Bond Interest Exclusion, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the Self-Help Homeownersip Opportunity Program. The programmes on the demand side, in other words that help people pay their rent, are almost as numerous.
This looks like an inefficient way to spend money, but that may not be the worst thing about it. Imagine being unemployed and trying to work out which of the federal government’s 24 different job training programmes you might be eligible for. When the affluent are confronted by government complexity they hire accountants; the poor must navigate it all by themselves."
But it’s also true
that, as long as some leaders play by what Mr. Kerry dismisses as
19th-century rules, the United States can’t pretend that the only game
is in another arena altogether. Military strength, trustworthiness as an
ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as
Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not.
While the United States has been retrenching, the tide of democracy in
the world, which once seemed inexorable, has been receding. In the long
run, that’s harmful to U.S. national security, too."
Babes in the wood. Does anyone believe this administration will lift a single serious finger to counter Russian action? State your case. Crickets.