- 3 million young adults stayed on their parents plan,
- 3 million more people had enrolled in Medicaid, with more on the way, and
- 5 million people enrolled in plans outside the insurance exchanges.
The news was so good that even Republicans should, in the president’s words, admit that the Affordable Care Act is working.
Maybe not. What the administration has not told us is how many of those 19 million people already had coverage and lost it because of the Affordable Care Act. Or how many of them would have been covered by insurance this year and changed plans to get a big subsidy. Or how many of them thought they were going to get a better health plan but found out that their doctor is not in the network. Or how many of them spent more on insurance than they felt they could afford because there were no lower-cost alternatives. Or how many will find out that the taxpayer subsidy they are receiving will turn out to be too high—they might get a raise in a few months or work some overtime and will make a little too much money this year, or it might just be that the government’s computers didn’t get it right—and will have to repay the Treasury hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars?
The president’s health plan is a hugely complicated enterprise. It has limped to the end of the first open enrollment period with numbers that look too good to be true. If what we care about is getting insurance for people who otherwise would not be covered, then the numbers are too good to be true.
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