Sally C. Pipes: Obamacare's exchanges are on a collision course with reality
More than three-quarters of Americans know “little” or “nothing” about the state-based exchanges, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Scheduled to open for enrollment in October offering coverage that takes effect in January, Obamacare’s exchanges were supposed to be technocratic masterworks. They’d bring together insurers in one, simple, online marketplace. Consumers and small businesses could choose from among several health plan options. “Managed” competition among participating insurers would help keep costs low for shoppers — and hold down public spending on subsidies for purchasing coverage.
Take enrollment. The Department of Health and Human Services’s first effort at an application clocked in at 21 pages for a family of three. After a public outcry, the Department spent stacks of taxpayer dollars on high-priced consultants to teach them how to make the form simpler. In late April, they proudly presented a redo that was only three pages.
It’s precisely this kind of complexity that’s going to scare consumers away from the exchanges. And consumers aren’t the only ones fleeing. Insurers are increasingly opting out of the exchanges — uncertain about the regulations they’ll face or whether there will actually be any customers for them to sell to.
With fewer plans on offer, the exchanges are going to be significantly less competitive than planned. That means higher prices for enrollees.
The exchanges have gotten off to such a bumpy start that even Obamacare’s most vehement supporters are hedging their bets. Henry Chao, who’s officially in charge of the exchanges’ technology apparatus, recently told Congressional Quarterly that he’s “pretty nervous.”
Sally C. Pipes is president, CEO, and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. Her next book, “The Cure for Obamacare” (Encounter), will be released this summer.
READER COMMENTS: 14
- Mark Hayward's City Matters: They fight to free pond for Manchester skaters - 1
- City Matters: Another storm, another chance to do your part for your city to do the right thing - 2
- City Matters: Manchester man wants apology from police - 2
- Mark Hayward's City Matters: Crossing guards endure rush hour rudeness - 8
- Mark Hayward's City Matters: Readers come through for frustrated Penguin Plunger - 0
- Mark Hayward's City Matters: Special Olympian says price to Plunge too high - 4
- Mark Hayward's City Matters: Manchester celebrates Martin Luther King legacy - 1
- Mark Hayward's City Matters: Innocence lost, justice delayed - 0
- Mark Hayward's City Matters: Dig deep in NH history to find reason for slippery sidewalks - 6
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Town, school budgets approved in Amherst - 0
- Wilton-Lyndeborough elementary school merger plan passes - 0
- Hollis voters approve all warrant articles - 0
- Div. I Girls' Basketball: Bedford advances to final with ease - 0
- Boys' Hockey: Souhegan, John Stark-Hopkinton advance in Div. III - 0
- Div. II Boys' Hockey: Bow and Bedford to meet for crown - 0
- Div. I Boys' Hockey: Londonderry moves on to title game - 0
- Div. I Boys' Hockey: Central pulls the semifinal upset - 0
- Bruins edge Phoenix for seventh straight win - 0
John Stossel: The bogus war on women
Rochester firm is ready to add jobs
Town, school budgets approved in Amherst
Hollis voters approve all warrant articles
No dice: House kills casino gambling bill
John DiStaso's Granite Status: Scott Brown to announce exploratory committee for U.S. Senate run