California: Obamacare's Potemkin Village

Lou Cannon of State Net Capitol Journal writes of Wednesday's abysmal Obamacare enrollment numbers that California offers the "best hope of salvaging" the policy. He points out that the number of California enrollees, 30,830, exceeds the 27,000 who signed up on the entire federal website in 36 states. 

Cannon cites numerous state officials beaming with pride, but leaves out some critical facts they would prefer to ignore.

The most important omission: California's goal is to enroll 2 million people statewide. In the first six weeks, it only reached 1.5% of that goal. 

While it is possible, and even likely, that the pace of enrollments will increase as the deadline nears, there is almost no chance the state will meet its target. 

Calling that "success" is grading on a very steep curve. And it is no better than the pace of nationwide progress, which is also 1.5%.

Another statistic Cannon leaves out is the sheer number of Californians--over one million, and rising--who will lose their individual health insurance in the same period. 

Cannon treats the problem of dropped plans as if it is merely anecdotal, the result of media attention to individual cases. Actually, the problem is systemic. The number of people who have lost insurance exceeds those who have bought it by a factor of roughly 30.

Cannon quotes an insurance executive as saying that California "could serve as a 'beacon' for the nation." That optimism, undiluted by reality, is what Obamacare's supporters have been saying in California before the exchanges launched Oct. 1. 

President Barack Obama's activist group, Organizing for Action, targeted the state as a showcase for Obamacare's success. In fact, it is a Potemkin village for Obamacare's failure.


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