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: 7
- Public Service seeks rate hike; blames energy costs - 4
- NRC to address concrete degradation at Seabrook nuclear plant - 0
- Maine environmental groups clash over wind power - 0
- 2008 ice storm left thousands powerless, changed the way NH prepares - 1
- Council considers attorney to serve on PUC - 0
- Warner officials research solar energy project - 0
- $22.3m approved for MTBE assessment plan - 1
- 11th-hour deal in Seabrook Station labor battle - 1
- Seabrook Station labor lockout would draw NRC presence - 5
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Red Sox deal Morales for backup infielder - 0
- It's a season of switching teams for NASCAR drivers - 0
- Central girls down Trinity in OT - 0
- Pistons edge Celtics - 0
- Business is good for football elite - 0
- Negotiator: Israeli-Palestinian talks might take year to complete - 0
- Harvard student charged in bomb hoax released on bail - 0
- Jackknifed propane tanker closes I-293 to traffic for hours in aftermath - 0
- AG eyes whether credibility issue may undermine some Rockingham County convictions - 0
Police say man attacked woman with sword
The Music Hall presents 'Messiah Sing'