In just under two weeks the open enrollment period for Obamacare will draw to a close. That is unless there is another change to the law to go along with the dozens of other unilateral modifications. March 31st is the deadline for individuals to obtain health care coverage and those who fail to enroll will be subject to a new tax penalty.
The law set out long term to provide health care coverage to more than 50 million uninsured individuals with the assurance that the reform would only affect them. Those Americans with current coverage were promised that they could keep their insurance plans and their doctor -- a promise that turned out to be patently untrue. The Obama Administration initially set a goal of seven million enrollees by the end of this month -- a figure that was shortly revised to just six million as complications from the law’s miserable implementation and clunky website began to pile up.
This overall enrollment goal hinged on getting a substantial amount of younger and healthier individuals to cross-subsidize the older and sicker participants at inflated premium rates. Much of the information about current enrollees is convoluted at best as the administration hides the details. Information about how many enrollees have actually paid for a plan as opposed to just selecting one or how many signups occurred due to people losing current insurance they wanted to keep is missing. What we do know is that the percentage of young enrollees remains fairly low and a large majority that have signed up will receive subsidized coverage.
It is no surprise that recent polling continues to show anguish over the direction of the country as a whole with a 2-to-1 belief that we are headed in the wrong direction. The President’s numbers are no better -- hovering around the low-to mid-40s. His signature initiative, the perpetually unpopular “health care” law, polls only around the 30s for favorability among the public. It is becoming clearer all the time that it is citizens that should be the ones making their health care decisions, not some bureaucrat in a distant office deciding how they need to live their lives.
There is a cautious optimism to be had however for a return to greater self-rule. In a recent special election for the 13thcongressional district in Florida, a district that was won twice by both the President and the Democratic candidate Alex Sink when she ran for governor in 2010, voters said “no” to Obamacare. Instead, they said “yes” to the lesser-funded and lesser-known republican candidate David Jolly who is firmly opposed to it. This is hopefully the beginning of a trend to send more change agents to Congress, but we must remain ever vigilant if we wish to do so.
I appeared on Lou Dobb’s program on Fox Business the other day to discuss these topics; you can watch the full clip here: