Obamacare Frustration May Lead to Low Enrollment
It seems political crisis is not the only side effect of the botched implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance exchanges. Many Americans, frustrated with the government-run health care website and not expecting to receive a subsidy to put toward their exchange-purchased coverage, have chosen to fulfill the individual mandate by purchasing policies from insurers directly.
In defending the Obama administration’s rush to rollout the cornerstone provision of the Affordable Care Act, the online insurance marketplaces, even after the website had crashed while being tested with just a few hundred people logging in, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in a Tuesday interview that that, “Waiting was not an option.” Implementation “moved forward because millions of people have been waiting for health care insurance,” she added.
The Affordable Care Act was designed to make affordable health insurance accessible to most all Americans via a two-part system: the expansion of Medicaid and the creation of insurance exchanges where individuals will be able to comparison-shop for health insurance policies in online marketplaces where their collective bargaining power will theoretically foster competition and drive down prices. Subsidies in the form of tax credits were also included to make coverage more affordable for the exchange enrollees that qualify. This plan to provide subsidized health care to millions of uninsured Americans and make health care more affordable for many others is the most ambitious social program implemented in the United States since Medicare was passed in the 1960s.