fresh voices from the front lines of change







You’d think that the fact they voted to repeal the whole program 46 times and shutdown the government for two weeks in a quixotic attempt to delay it would make the Republicans just a little bit reluctant to pretend they are sincerely worried about how the Obamacare website is working. But shameless is their name and hypocrisy is their game.

Still, it’s worthwhile to point out that most of the hand-wringing coming from everyone is over the top and that the idea regular Americans are sitting in front of their computers frantically trying to buy health care and can’t is just stupid. Here’s Jonathan Cohn talking about the current angst over “low enrollment” in the first month allegedly because the Federal web site won’t work:

The main reason for low enrollment will be that people don’t sign up for health insurance programs right away. They wait until the last minute. This is true of public insurance and this is true of private insurance. And while you’ve heard people (including me) say this for months, this is one of those cases when numbers tell the story better than words. And there are some numbers very few people have seen.

The numbers are from Massachusetts, the state whose health reforms became the template for the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion. The place to look is within what’s known as the “Commonwealth Care” program, which is where people getting private insurance subsidies shopped for plans—in other words, an analogous structure to the new federally run exchanges.


The analogy to Obamacare is far from perfect, in that Commonwealth Care didn’t include wealthier people who didn’t qualify for subsidies. (In the Massachusetts scheme, they essentially had a separate exchange—and enrollment there began half a year later.) Also, the Massachusetts open enrollment period was twice as long. So it’s reasonable to expect that, with a fully functional website, early enrollment in Obamacare private plans would be higher than those numbers above suggest. But the general point stands. Very few people sign up for insurance in the first few months. Most wait until much later in the game.

Yes. And because of all the hoopla over the web site not working, it makes sense to wait doesn’t it? It’s not as if you can use the new insurance. It doesn’t take effect until January 1st. It’s October.

Do you think the mainstream media knows this? I don’t think many of them do. The way they talk people are jamming the web-site because they need to see a doctor right away. And that may be true. But none of them will have their doctor visit covered by insurance until next year. And I’m pretty sure most people know that, even if the talking heads are clueless.

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