Actors. Actresses. NFL football players. Baseball players. Librarians. Mayors. City councilmen. Members of AARP.
The Obama administration is looking far and wide, leaving no stone unturned in a relentless search for…well…for help.
Help with what? Help with getting people to enroll in health insurance plans this fall.
And why is that? Because the administration is facing the very real possibility that its signature piece of legislation may fall flat on its face.
Last week’s announcement that the employer mandate will be delayed for a year and that income verification for people getting subsidies will also be delayed are the latest signs of trouble. The next shoe to drop may be the failure for people to obtain (ObamaCare) insurance — even if it’s free or highly subsidized.
· About one in every four individuals who are eligible for Medicaid in this country has not bothered to enroll.
· About one in five employees who are offered employer-provided health insurance turns it down; among workers under 30 years of age, the refusal rate is almost one in three.
Think about that for a moment. Millions of people are turning down (Medicaid) health insurance, even though it’s free! Millions of others are turning down their employers’ offers. Since employees pay about 27% of the cost of their health insurance, on the average, millions of workers are passing up the opportunity to buy health insurance for 27 cents on the dollar.
You almost never read statistics like these in the mainstream media. Why? Because they completely undermine health policy orthodoxy: the belief that health insurance (even Medicaid) is economically very valuable, that it improves health and saves lives, and that the main reason why people don’t have it is that they can’t afford it.
Welcome to the huge disconnect in health reform. On the one hand there are the people who are supposed to benefit from health reform. On the other hand there are the people who talk about it and write about it. I think it’s fair to say these two groups almost never meet.
Study after study has purported to have found that health insurance improves health, saves lives, makes people happier, etc., etc. But these studies almost always ignore two cardinal facts:
· We have made it increasingly easy in this country for the uninsured to obtain health care after they get sick.
· We have also made it increasingly easy for people to get health insurance after they get sick.
Both developments reduce the incentive to spend time and money enrolling in a health plan.
I have described before the experience of emergency room care in Dallas:
“At Parkland Memorial Hospital both uninsured and Medicaid patients enter the same emergency room door and see the same doctors. The hospital rooms are the same, the beds are the same and the care is the same. As a result, patients have no reason to fill out the lengthy forms and answer the intrusive questions that Medicaid enrollment so often requires. At Children’s Medical Center, next door to Parkland, a similar exercise takes place. Medicaid, CHIP and uninsured children all enter the same emergency room door; they all see the same doctors and receive the same care.
Interestingly, at both institutions, paid staffers make a heroic effort to enroll people in public programs ― working patient by patient, family by family right there in the emergency room. Yet they apparently fail more than half the time! After patients are admitted, staffers go from room to room, continuing with this bureaucratic exercise. But even among those in hospital beds, the failure-to-enroll rate is significant.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
People don't want health insurance?
Here's an interesting article on what's happening regarding Obamacare and Medicaid. It turns out millions of people who could get health either free or inexpensively aren't doing it. Of course this has significant implications for Obamacare where they need people to enroll in the exchanges to make it work.