Leading healthwonk Bob Laszewski comments on a recent WSJ article about a McKinsey Report I blogged that showed that only 11% of the people who signed up for Obamacare were previously uninsured. Bob questions what will be the impact on our healthcare system if most of the people who have signed up *already* had health insurance.
Bob closes with the important question I posed earlier. The ACA caused substantial disruptions in the health insurance market, to say nothing about how it impacted the labor market, with the goal of expanding access to affordable health insurance. If it fails that goal, and only a small number of people actually benefit from the law, was it worth it?
However many finally pay, so far it is clear that the uninsured just aren’t buying Obamacare.
If this continues, people will be asking a very big question come election day:
While we needed to do health insurance reform, why did we have to do it in a way that so disrupted the existing individual and small group market if the people it was supposed to benefit, the uninsured, weren’t going to buying it?
The Obama administration will now argue they had lots of computer problems between October and January and there are three months remaining to get people interested in and purchasing health insurance.
They are right.
But when the spin is over, they have to be sweating bullets.
It’s not enough to say that *some* people were benefit. Of course some will be better off. But how many will be better off, and how many will be worse off? How many winners, and how many losers will there be? The question is, was it worth the cost both in terms of the ACA’s impact on people who were happy with their coverage, and on the labor market.