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Obamacare's Washington Math

We are awaiting the official figures this week of how many Americans have bought into Obamacare. The reports are that less than 50,000 Americans have managed to enroll in the federal Obamacare exchange. This is a far cry from the 500,000 the administration predicted by the end of October. Numbers in the state exchanges aren't expected to be much better, around 49,000 enrollees. Reuters points out that this figure represents just 3% of the administration's enrollment target for 2014. It was expected that 7 million Americans nationwide would sign up for Obamacare by the 2014 target date. Jamie Dupree has a good run down of how the exchanges are fairing in each of the states that chose to set them up. This includes Oregon – with $3.2 million worth of hipster songs promoting Covered Oregon – which has yet to enroll a single person into the program!

But when the figures are released, how will we know that they are even accurate? Yet again, Washington is pulling out its magic calculator. This time it is to calculate the number of Americans enrolled in Obamacare. According to the Washington Post, the Obama administration is changing the definition of who is considered “enrolled” in Obamacare. It turns out that you don't have to actually pay for Obamacare to be considered enrolled in Obamacare! According to an administration official, “In the data that will be released this week, ‘enrollment’ will measure people who have filled out an application and selected a qualified health plan in the marketplace.” So if you actually manage to get onto the website and browse for a plan, and a plan is sitting in your shopping cart but you've yet to pay for it, you would be counted as being “enrolled” in Obamacare.

But if you ask Chuck Todd of NBC News, there's no spin to these numbers. He tries to do the math and explain how things will work out just fine, but the fact is that these numbers are down-right terrible. Not only are they an embarrassment but they will lead to absolutely disastrous consequences for Obamacare. Remember I keep warning you that in order for Obamacare to “work” properly, they MUST have a certain number of people enrolled. They can't just be any Americans, either. There must be a lot of young, healthy Americans buying into the system in order for it to “work.” Otherwise Obamacare will suffer from something I've been warning you about: a “death spiral.” This is when premium prices soar. Former senior healthcare advisor and Obamacare architect David Culter acknowledged this fact on the Kelly File last night.

The number of enrollees is a problem, along with the lack of competition, which will lead to these rising premium prices. The Heritage Foundation points out that this is another broken promise associated with Obamacare. Based on their analysis, “In more than half of the counties in the U.S., people have only one or two insurance carriers offering coverage on their exchanges.” Yet another broken promise. I'm not expecting another half-hearted apology from the president.