Deep secrets of the banana

Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Maine Senator Angus King declared that Obamacare does not exist. That health insurance policy that you lost courtesy of Obamacare? Take two aspirin and call King in the morning.

As we take a walk down memory lane, comparing our present ills with those of the Carter era, perhaps it’s time to recall the creativity of Carter administration deregulation guru and inflation czar Alfred Kahn. While serving under Carter, as Minnesota Public Radio’s Bob Collins reminds us, Kahn became known for his blunt and sometimes politically damaging comments. When he was giving testimony at the Capitol, whenever he needed to say “recession” or “depression,” he’d simply say “banana” instead.

The statutory deadline for open enrollment for what we shall call the banana in honor of Kahn arrived today. Administration officials are touting the success of the banana in hitting enrollment targets. They call it mellow yellow.

We are inundated with BS and there is no way the mainstream media are going to help you sort things out. Marc Thiessen helps to keep our focus on the issues in the deep, deep secrets of the banana. Thiessen’s column is worth quoting at length:

[T]he number that matters is not how many Americans signed up for Obamacare but rather how many previously uninsured Americans signed up for Obamacare. By that standard, Obamacare may be headed for an epic failure.

Recall that between 5 million and 6 million Americans lost their health plans because of Obamacare last fall. If the administration now succeeds in signing up 5 million to 6 million previously insured Americans, it will have achieved . . . nothing. Breaking even is no great accomplishment.

And let’s not forget: Many of those new Obamacare sign-ups are self-sufficient people who were previously paying their own way and now receive government subsidies for insurance. Creating government dependency is not progress — it’s a step backward.

The stated goal of Obamacare was not to move millions of privately insured Americans into taxpayer-subsidized health coverage. The goal was to cover the uninsured. That was the justification for all the chaos and disruption Americans have experienced — and that is the standard by which the administration should be judged.

So how is it doing? We don’t know yet, but the signs are not good. A March survey by McKinsey & Co. found that only 27 percent of consumers who had purchased new coverage in the individual insurance market in February were previously uninsured — up from 11 percent in January. But McKinsey also found that the payment rate for the previously uninsured was just 53 percent, compared with 86 percent for the previously insured. We don’t know how many of those policies were purchased through Obamacare, but remember: Those who sign up and do not pay are not actually enrolled.

Goldman Sachs is projecting that only 1 million Obamacare sign-ups will come from previously uninsured Americans. Indeed, it estimates that the number of total signups will be just 4 million — not 6 million, as the administration claims — because “HHS figures . . . count all persons who selected an ACA exchange plan regardless of whether or not they have actually completed the enrollment process by paying their premium.” Goldman Sachs also anticipates that fully 75 percent of all the Obamacare sign-ups will be from people who already had insurance.

The administration faces a similar problem with Medicaid enrollments. President Obama recently declared, “We’ve got close to 7 million Americans who have access to health care for the first time because of Medicaid expansion.” That statement is flat untrue.

The president assumes that every single one of those Medicaid enrollees is getting health insurance for the first time because of Obamacare. But according to his own Department of Health and Human Services, that number includes people previously enrolled in Medicaid who are deemed eligible for another year, as well as people who would have been eligible under the law before Obamacare. The fact is, HHS does not know how many of the Medicaid signups are “newly eligible” and how many would have signed up anyway. If HHS doesn’t know, how can the president know? The answer is: He can’t.

Whole thing here.

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