by Frances Martel 24 Oct 2013
For much of Obamacare's launch, the media has focused its attention on HealthCare.gov, now a nearly universally-recognized disaster. Falling by the wayside, however, is what the law actually means for Americans in need of insurance, and there the numbers are dire, with more Americans losing their coverage than becoming newly covered under the ACA.
A day ago, House Speaker John Boehner predicted that more insured Americans were set to lose their health care coverage than sign up for coverage through health care exchanges. So far, the concerning numbers appear to show just that.
In an extensive roundup of the numbers, Forbes' Josh Archambault reveals that, upon close inspection, the number of people losing their insurance coverage in merely three states towers over that of people newly insured in all 50. He notes that over half a million Americans have received notices that they will lose their coverage in Florida, California, Philadelphia, in addition to numbers coming in from several other states. Comparatively, "only 476,000 applications have been 'filed' in an exchange."
Estimates as to what these numbers will mean for the long-term effect of the Affordable Care Act vary greatly. For one, what exactly it means for someone to have filed for insurance in an exchange—that is to say, where in the process a person counts as having already "filed" for this insurance—is still somewhat murky, with Archambault raising the possibility that some states are inflating their numbers by including applications for Medicaid. Given that many major health insurance companies have abstained from participating in the program, the potential for the number of newly insured to overtake the newly uninsured is questionable at best.
Those that support the premise of Obamacare turn to Massachusetts as evidence that the alarmingly low filing numbers will turn before a year's time. The number of filings does not, however, negate the number of Americans losing their insurance-- and those estimates from policy experts in the long term still look to outpace the newly insured. Estimates for the total number set to lose their coverage vary from 14 million to 16 million.
The shuffle and subsequent worries from all parts of the political spectrum have led the White House to call for a potential postponement of many important Obamacare deadlines, despite opposing Republican calls to push the deadlines back until the government could implement the proper infrastructure that such a massive domestic policy overhaul requires.