The Daily Beast profiled Connecticut, a state that built its own health care exchange and has therefore avoided the nightmare of the federal site. Writer Daniel Gross points out that having a working exchange and being a “highly Democratic, wealthy, small state [with] a relatively low rate of uninsured people, about 9 percent,” makes Connecticut a “pretty good laboratory” for what ObamaCare might look like once the national exchanges are working. But the news is still not good.
Although ObamaCare enjoys the best of conditions in Connecticut, it isn’t selling very well. Of the 344,000 uninsured, only 10,678 applications were opened in the first two weeks. Moreover, the state has only processed 2,732 applications. When you consider the average family size, that means that an estimated 3,847 residents have enrolled in ObamaCare, which is just a little over 1% of the state’s uninsured.
This, however, could be the real problem: “About 29 percent of the enrollees are under the age of 35, but most of those gaining coverage through the exchange are between the ages of 55 and 64.”
If the 29% under 35 are all Invincibles, healthy individuals who will fund the overall system by paying a lot more into it than they take out, the ratio is about where it needs to be. But it is highly likely that a sizable portion are sickly and desperate for cheaper health care, which means they will drain the system and bring about the death spiral. We also don’t know how many of them applied for and will receive federal subsidies.
The Connecticut officials interviewed by the Daily Beast claim that these early numbers have made them optimistic about the future of ObamaCare:
Remember, people can start enrolling for insurance today, but the insurance doesn’t go into effect until January, and the final deadline to enroll is December 15. “I don’t write checks three months in advance,” he noted. Based on the launch of the Medicare prescription drug coverage benefit in 2006, we should expect a large increase in enrollment in the three weeks between Thanksgiving and December 15.
Counihan projected that the state will enroll about 100,000 people by the end of March 2014. “And the first two weeks of data don’t lead us to raise or lower that number,” he said. “The implementation of this program is three years.”
If the goal is 100,000 by the end of March, that is 4,166 a week, a number that wasn’t achieved in the first two weeks combined. In fact, if all of the 10,678 applications opened during the first two weeks are serious buyers who will eventually purchase ObamaCare (which is highly unlikely), during the first two weeks when pent up demand should be at a peak, that only puts the state a little ahead of its goal.
The indifference of the American people might be doing what the Republican couldn’t: defunding ObamaCare.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC