Obamacare Newly Insured Numbers Miss by at least 50% vs. Projections

With our new prosthetic memory, called the Internet, it should be easy to go back and look at past predictions and see how well those predictions played out.  Heck, sports talk radio hosts do it all the time, comparing their beginning of season predictions with what actually happened.  But no one ever seems to hold the government or politicians similarly accountable.

Here is one I found by accident.  In July of 2011, Kevin Drum quotes this prediction from the CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a government agency).

In 2014, the Affordable Care Act will greatly expand access to insurance coverage, mainly through Medicaid and new state health insurance exchanges which will facilitate the purchase of insurance. The result will be an estimated 22.9 million newly insured people.

In March of 2014 Kevin Drum quotes this from the LA Times

As the law's initial enrollment period closes, at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gained coverage. Some have done so through marketplaces created by the law, some through other private insurance and others through Medicaid, which has expanded under the law in about half the states.

The tally draws from a review of state and federal enrollment reports, surveys and interviews with insurance executives and government officials nationwide.

....Republican critics of the law have suggested that the cancellations last fall have led to a net reduction in coverage. That is not supported by survey data or insurance companies, many of which report they have retained the vast majority of their 2013 customers by renewing old policies, which is permitted in about half the states, or by moving customers to new plans.

This is presented as a great victory, but in fact it is nearly 60% below expectations of less than two years earlier.  We don't know the final number.  Drum, who should be expected to be on the optimistic end of projections, has upped his estimate to 11-13 million, but this is still barely half what was expected.   The disastrous Obamacare exchange rollout did one thing at least -- it hammered expectations so low that even a 50% miss is considered a great victory.



  1. marque2:

    I doubt the level is even 9 million. I for one had to register twice. First on my wife's name and then when the account froze and we could get back in and the help line said the wait was only only 8 hours we gave up on that account and created a new one on my name. The state still dutifully sends us information on the old account we can't access and I am sure it is counted towards people registering on the service.

  2. orthodoc:

    Let us give thanks to Big Brother that the chocolate ration has been increased to 20 grammes per week!

  3. mesocyclone:

    Now, now... don't you know it's racist to confront progressives with inconvenient truths?

  4. mlhouse:

    About the biggest "success" ObamaCare has had in insuring previously uninsured individuals is through the mechanism of negative incentives to people who previously had health insurance available from their employer, but declined the insurance (almost certainly due to cost).

    While this might be a "success", it is a welfare decreasing activity because it artificially changed how those people (about 7 million) spent their money.

  5. Tom Nally:

    But some who were previously insured prior to the ACA have probably elected to go "naked" because of the rising premiums. So the "net" number of newly insured is probably even lower.

  6. another guy named Dan:

    AS I remember it, origina;;y the figure was that there were 65 million uninsured, and the exchanges would cover 25-30 million. the 7 million figure was the estimate of the absolute minimum that could sign up and still have the program be actuarily viable, that is cover the costs of the huge adverse selection bias that was deemed likely (initially it would only be the sickest and highest-cost patients whoul would be motivated to sign up.
    This then got morphed to anything over 7 million would make the project successful, completely disregarding the fact that 7 million could have been covered at much lower cost, and that close to 90% of the people without insurance pre-expansion would still not have insurance afterwards.