California Dreaming


Paul Krugman: In California, ObamaCare is working like a charm:

At a time like this, you really want a controlled experiment. What would happen if we unveiled a program that looked like ObamaCare, in a place that looked like America, but with competent project management that produced a working website?

Well, your wish is granted. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you California.

Robert Laszewski: California is on track for a net increase in the number of uninsured!

  • California has 5.3 million uninsured eligible to buy in the exchange with half estimated to be subsidy eligible.
  • California is cancelling another 1.1 million people of which Covered California has estimated 510,000 qualify for a subsidy they can only get if they go to Covered California. At least 80% need to act by December 23 to avoid losing their coverage.
  • The state is spending $250 million in federal money to get people signed up ― dramatically more than any other state.
  • The Covered California goal is to sign-up 500,000 to 700,000 subsidy eligible people by March 31.

Why should we be so impressed with Covered California because they have signed-up 80,000 people so far?

Comments (15)

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  1. Trent says:

    So what you’re saying is, in a class full of idiots we are labeling someone the smartest? The shiniest turd is still a turd.

    • Lucas says:

      But according to Paul Krugman it’s working like a charm!!! pfft as if.

      • Wally says:

        They’ve achieved 20% enrollment within a month, that’s not too terrible to have everything in by march.

        • Yancey Ward says:

          Well, no. See my comment below how the numbers discussed aren’t apples to apples.

          • Trent says:

            Their numbers actual, vs their expected are higher. They planned for less and are getting more. Is it possible their expectations were too low? Yes. But even with the influx of people, they are still handling it better than the Fed.

            However, realistically, they both should be signing up way more people, but the fact of the matter is we are dealing with low numbers.

            • Yancey Ward says:

              I see no reason at all to believe this. The expectation was for 500-700K enrollees with subsidies, and one can infer another 400K-600K without subsidies, but that number isn’t being discussed. The 80,000 includes both those with and without subsidies since CA doesn’t break the numbers down for us. So by mid November, they have “enrolled” less than 10% of the number expected. And this assumes the 80K are actual buyers, again something that isn’t even clear from the numbers provided.

              • Yancey Ward says:

                Also, to clarify, they don’t tell you how many they expected by mid November, but one has to think this number should have been greater than 100K by this point just based on their original assumptions. If the enrolled # is still under 250K by mid December, they are going to miss the goal by at least 30% by March 31.

  2. Yancey Ward says:

    California is the last trick available to the ACA supporters. It is a big enough state with enough uninsured that even lousy enrollment numbers look like “big” numbers to the average reader. Krugman knows this, and is basically treating his readers like idiots. Notice how the projection numbers discussed isn’t for the total expected to enroll, but is, instead, just the total expected to enroll with subsidies; but the 80,000 number includes both those with and without subsidies. An apples to apples comparison would say that California has enrolled, as of November 19, 80,000 out of a projected 1 to 1.2 million expected. In other words, 80,000 seems to be far behind what one would expect by this point in time.

    • Trent says:

      One would expect the numbers to be higher, but this is a wholly new system. It’s quite possible that California is working at their framework’s capacity. We can only hope the the Fed isn’t operating at the same rate.

  3. Yancey Ward says:

    And this leaves out that my belief that the 80,000 may not even be the people buying a policy, but that is another debate.

  4. Connor says:

    Congratulations California, you are actually finally semi-successful at something, it just so happens everyone hates it.

    • Trent says:

      It seems like California will also be the first definition for a death spiral. They have so many sick and elderly uninsured its ridiculous.

  5. Devon Herrick says:

    California made the mistake of requiring all insurers who sell in the Exchange to cancel policies sold outside the exchange. That removed the opportunity for insurers to transition over time from the individual market to the exchange.

  6. Bob Hertz says:

    Devon, are you saying that a carrier which sells on the Exchange can sell nothing outside the exchange?
    (in the individual market)

    That is indeed monumentally stupid.

    I was under the impression that almost all cancellation letters did offer the insured the right to transfer to a new, compliant non-exchange plan at a higher premium.

    At least they do not have to be uninsured on 1/1/2014.
    That is how MN is doing this.

    The ACA will blow up as much from state stupidity as from federal stupidity.

  7. Bob Hertz says:

    Additional note:

    according to Charles Ornstein in Pro Publica on 11-7, Kaiser and Blue Cross lobbied the California Insurance dept to have all non compliant policies cancelled. They thought this would give them an advantage since smaller carriers would not have time to draft new contracts.

    Again, the ACA itself did not require cancellations. This was an action taken in each state.