Washington has had one of the most “successful” ObamaCare rollouts in the country, with a couple hundred thousand applications placed through their state’s health insurance exchange. But the picture is not all rosy. Dr. Roger Stark, a health care policy analyst at Washington Policy Center and distinguished retired physician, explains that most enrollees are actually signing up for Medicaid:
State officials just released the most recent figures. A total of 211,000 people have made applications. Out of that number, 150,000 signed up for Medicaid, with no out-of-pocket cost. Of the remaining 61,000 who signed up on the private insurance side, only 18,000 have paid the initial premium and 43,000 have made application but have not put any money down.
In other words, 89% of people who have completed the exchange application have signed up for the Medicaid entitlement without any cost to them. Only 11% have signed up on the private side of the exchange. This is a very worrisome trend and hasn’t changed since October. For Obamacare to work financially, the exchanges must have young, healthy people sign up on the private side. If they don’t, the ACA becomes a huge, costly entitlement expansion and redistribution of wealth.
The exchange rollout has had other adverse effects on Washington families. Thousands of calls to the 1-800 number have gone unanswered. Two of the largest hospital systems in the Puget Sound area, Childrens and Swedish, have been excluded from government approved insurance plans in the exchanges.
And, is the Medicaid expansion a good deal?
The ACA is written such that ultimately 90% of the new Medicaid expansion is paid for by federal taxpayers. Of course, state taxpayers are the same people as federal taxpayers. So actually Washington state taxpayers will be forced to pay for the entire expansion, or $17-$22 billion over 10 years, depending on enrollment….