April 2nd, 2014

What are the previously uninsured doing about Obamacare?

How many uninsured people there were in America prior to Obamacare has been a mystery wrapped in an enigma (see this for an analysis of the misleading figures), ready to be exploited for propaganda purposes. That confusion was not just limited to how many uninsured people there were, but included their demographics and reasons for remaining so, although all of it was continually estimated and discussed and analyzed.

One thing that was clear was that the ACA was supposedly designed to reduce this group’s numbers. You might say that was its stated raison d’être, one that has since been almost lost in the shuffle of doublespeak that constitutes the left’s pep talks about the Obamacare signups.

Another thing that is clear is that, even if you take the administration’s propaganda at face value and put the most pro-Obamacare spin on it, the administration’s figures about the numbers of pre-ACA uninsured as compared to reported signup figures indicate that only a tiny fraction of those previously uninsured are now insured.

Bookworm writes:

As of yesterday [March 31, 2014], based upon the limited data the Obama administration has reluctantly released, only 1.7% of the previously uninsured have enrolled in Obamacare.

I’m not sure the number isn’t at least somewhat higher than 1.7%*, but it certainly is nowhere near the numbers originally predicted or supposedly desired (see the chart here, as well).

Bookworm also offers a reasonable-seeming explanation for the reluctance of at least some of those on the Obamacare fence:

I was speaking to my friend just yesterday about her healthcare and she offered a very interesting observation: She and her husband, the only middle class people in a sea of poverty, are the only people she knows, amongst both friends and acquaintances, who have signed up for Obamacare. The others have no interest in getting health insurance. Even with a subsidy, they don’t want to pay a monthly bill for health insurance. Even a subsidized rate is too onerous when they can get all the free health care they need just by showing up at the local emergency room. Additionally, the ER docs are usually better than any doc who’s willing to belong to whatever plan they can afford. Nor are these people worried about the penalties for refusing to buy Obamacare, since none of them pay taxes.

Not only are the people in my friend’s world refusing to buy Obamacare, they resent it. According to my friend, someone she knows abruptly announced that she’s getting involved in local politics, something she’s never done before. Until recently, this gal was one of those people who just floated along, getting by. Now, though, she’s fired up.

The reason for the sudden passion is unexpected: She’s deeply offended by a law that forces people to buy a product they don’t need — never mind that she might benefit from the product, that she would pay far below market value for the product, or that she’s too poor to be penalized for ignoring this government diktat. The mere fact that the diktat exists runs counter to her notion of individual liberty. Her view of government is that, while it’s fine if it hands out welfare checks and food stamps, it goes beyond the pale when the government uses its power and wealth to coerce activity.

Now that is interesting. I don’t know how many people are going as far as this newly-minted although quite compartmentalized libertarian. But it does seem that even with generous subsidies, Obamacare is too much for a lot of people to whom every single dollar counts, and who know that they can get absolutely free care in the hospital emergency rooms.

[NOTE: *For example, the numbers don't seem to include the previously-uninsured who are newly signed up for Medicaid. Those are very hard-to-estimate numbers, too, because to do so one would need to separate out those new Medicaid enrollees who were only eligible because of Obamacare from the usual new enrollments that regularly occur anyway.

Of course, Medicaid enrollment does not mean a doctor will take the patient. But that's another---although important and related---problem. Health insurance de jure is not the same as healthcare de facto.]

27 Responses to “What are the previously uninsured doing about Obamacare?”

  1. CapnRusty Says:

    The Democrats told us that there were 47 million Americans without health insurance. Then they rammed Obamacare down our throats. Seven million signed up, leaving 40 million without health insurance?

    I reckon the people who pay income taxes are the only people who buy health insurance, because they’re the only ones who would be penalized if they didn’t. And we know they are paying higher premiums for lesser coverage than before. Those higher premiums were supposed to subsidize the cost of the premiums for the poor folk. But the poor folk, the non-tax payers, are still going to the emergency room, instead of buying the subsidized health insurance.

    Before Obamacare, they told us that the people who had health insurance were each paying about $1,000 extra to handle the cost of the people using the emergency room for medical care. Now we have Obamacare, the premiums are higher than ever, and a whole bunch of people (40 million?) are still using the emergency room for “free” health care. Nothing changed, except the IRS hired 16,000 more agents.

  2. Harold Says:

    The numbers mean what the government says they mean. It’s ObamaNewSpeak. The numbers are all doubleplusgood.

  3. carl in atlanta Says:

    What I was told by Healthcare.gov (when I assisted my homeless client submit his application) was that the subsidies are actually treated as tax credits and that if you pay no income taxes you get no subsidies at all.

    Therefore my homeless client (who has always been uninsured, makes no money and therefore pays no taxes) must pay $5,993 in premiums for an ACA “Silver Plan” PLUS no more than $6,350 in out of pocket expenses.

    But the important thing is that his application for ObamaCare was APPROVED!

    In 2013, there were ‘only’ an estimated 610,000 homeless people in America. Too small (and much too weak) a constituency to worry about; I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re no longer counted as members of “the uninsured”, even though I’d bet they were included (for propaganda purposes) pre-2008.

  4. rickl Says:

    One thing we need to do is repeal EMTALA. That would take some of the pressure off emergency rooms, and reduce the free ride the poor are getting.

  5. Beth Says:

    I want to know why no one is asking the administration how we went from 30 million to 47 million uninsured on Obama’s watch? In point of fact, if we counted numbers the old fashioned way, between the 6 million who lost their insurance, due to the new healthcare mandates, and the 7 million (I’ll give Obama the fake numbers) who got insurance, while remaking 1/6th of the economy and destroying the best healthcare system on the planet, we are left with 18 million people less insured on Obama’s watch. And for the bargain price of $2 trillion over the next 10 years! Now that’s an achievement.

  6. Bill West Says:

    Three related facts: Of the 30 million uninsured, an estimated 5 million were qualified for Medicaid under pre-Obamacare rules but hadn’t been enrolled. Of the newly enrolled Medicaid beneficiaries, how many are qualified only as a result of the expansion? That would be the real number.

    Also, nobody is talking about the excise tax on medical devices. That is a cost that will be passed throughout the entire system. In other words, it is a tax on the middle class, those who always pay the bills.

    Third, if you have a health savings account as part of your benefit package, the maximum allowable annual contribution to that account was reduced from $6,000 to $2,500. That means that now $3,500 more of your income is taxable. Again, this is squarely on the shoulders of the middle class.

    Liberals are very good at finding ways to take our money and spend it on their favored causes, but neatly avoiding the direct effects of their decisions. Victor Davis Hanson has a commentary on that last thought: “If only people had to live in the world that they dreamed of for others.”


  7. J.J. Says:

    The ACA was sold on the idea that it would bring most people into the insurance market. At least that was one of the big talking points. The other two points were that you could keep your doctor and it would lower costs for the average family by $2500 per year.

    These selling points are now exposed as bogus and fraudulent. Yet the body politic is not up in arms like it was when this immoral law was proposed and being shoved down our throats. How do we account for this? IMO, the lack of a true economic recovery, foreign policy debacles, MSM complicity, and astounding insults to the Constitution have sapped the morale of even the most devout patriot. I know I’m finding it harder to maintain optimism in the face of what is happening. If the November 2014 elections don’t bring a Republican majority to Congress, morale will fall even further.

    We must all put our best efforts into the coming election. This despicable law must be repealed just as Prohibition was.

  8. blert Says:

    EMTALA is apparently the very first thing that illegal immigrants learn about.

    Everyone at your local half-way house is aware of it.

    For those in the ‘black economy’ (ie untaxed and often illicit) the LAST thing they want to do is ‘get registered.’

    Remember the life story of Henry Hill. (Goodfellas) He stayed away from every Federal program possible — until he couldn’t.

    Should he have ever begun linking into the system, his inherent unlawful activities would’ve been exposed… creating an ‘Al Capone’ problem every April 15th.

    Barry wants paranoid citizens to trust the system — and to trust him, personally.

    As if!

    And, he only has a thousand-days to go.

    Digital records are forever.

  9. blert Says:

    “Washington has also vigorously opposed Palestinian membership in the international agencies, which under a law passed by Congress could [should Ed.] prompt a withdrawal of financial aid to the Palestinian Authority and a shutdown of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington.” op. cit. @ OP.

    This would entirely terminate the “Road to Ramallah” show.

    If Barry & Co are not even in the picture (WRT the greater jidad) then our influence must be eroded across the ummah.

    What will JFK do with his free time?

  10. Ymarsakar Says:

    A lot of the de facto health is taken up by Congress and Hussein’s gold plated permanent immortality benefits.

  11. Beth Says:

    I would like to further J.J.’s point about putting in our best efforts to the 2014 elections. Bill Kristol has a great response to Obama’s bully tactics used yesterday when he declared the debate over healthcare over. It is time to start treating these bullies on the Left the same way we treat them on the playground, confront them.

    As self defense instructor who has had to deal far too much with children being bullied in school, I know the first thing these kids need to do is challenge the bully, do you want to fight? Most bullies, once confronted back off, but if they don’t then you need to be prepared for a fight and for us it means confronting the media and the Democrat party with facts. If I were the RNC and the media doesn’t ask the crucial questions we are asking here, which is, where’s the proof in his numbers, then refuse to go on their shows. Start taking out ads on their networks challenging them in their own backyard.
    Fake the confidence until they feel it if need be.


  12. M J R Says:

    RAND: Only One-Third Of Obamacare Exchange Sign-Ups Were From The Previously Uninsured


  13. Richard Aubrey Says:

    When this all came around the first time in the late Eighties/early Nineties, the Word was 30 million uninsured.
    Turned out that was bogus. Smack me with a mackerel.
    One third were illegal aliens who weren’t going to be covered, but anyway it wasn’t disclosed. You were invited to see that number as referring to honest-to-George Americans.
    One third were eligible for Medicaid.
    A substantial number were from households making $75k+, when that was real money.
    And, whipped cream on top, anybody uninsured for even a day was considered “uninsured”.
    When you discover somebody’s lying to you about why you’re supposed to do something, the first thing to do is not do it.

  14. Bilwick Says:

    I’m confused by Il Dufe and his ObamaBots’ triumphalism about the sign-up. Isn’t it compulsory? If so, why should it be considered some great victory that many people complied? It’s true that in the halcyon days of this once-great, liberty-loving republic, instead of signing up en masse people would have been out on the village green with guns in their hands; but no one was really expecting revolt, were they?

  15. neo-neocon Says:


    The triumphalism is for show. It’s theater, for the ignorant masses and the loyal troops of the left, helped on by the MSM. How and what the administration actually thinks about the actual sign-up numbers (whatever those numbers may be) is a secret, although we can guess.

  16. matthew49 Says:

    Poor people don’t need health insurance. If they need medical care, they get it. It may not be given in the most convenient fashion, but they get the medical care they really need. They don’t have to worry about the cost because they don’t have anything the hospitals or doctors can collect for payment. Middle class people need health insurance because they have to pay for their health care and they have bank accounts and other assets that they can lose. Middle class people need and want health insurance but many poor people don’t see the need and don’t want it.

  17. parker Says:

    I find it curious that for months the regime has not been able to tell us how many were signing up and how many were actually paying monthly premiums; but the morning after the ‘deadline’ they precisely stated 7,041,000 enrolled, which using the new common core math was rounded up to 7.1 million. All their numbers are bogus. Obamacare is lies all the way down.

    BHO thinks its over and settled because he says so, good luck with that one. Real people are being hurt in the wallet and obamacare remains unpopular and grows ever more unpopular as we approach November.

  18. Ira Says:

    matthew49 Says:
    April 2nd, 2014 at 5:46 pm
    Poor people don’t need health insurance. If they need medical care, they get it. It may not be given in the most convenient fashion, but they get the medical care they really need. They don’t have to worry about the cost because they don’t have anything the hospitals or doctors can collect for payment. Middle class people need health insurance because they have to pay for their health care and they have bank accounts and other assets that they can lose. Middle class people need and want health insurance but many poor people don’t see the need and don’t want it.

    Alas, those poor people are not about to vote for anyone who proposes to repeal or change Obamacare, except to make it a single payer system.

  19. Beverly Says:

    We’re seeing the further development of the Left’s “Lie Your Arse Off” mode of government: Yell a huge lie loudly and often enough, and just ignore into oblivion any factual challenges/refutations.

    When you notice them peddling these whoppers, be aware that you are not the Intended Audience. The Intended Audience for all this theatrical b***sh** is the No-Information Voter. They really don’t give a good goddam what the rest of us think, as they have herded us all into a virtual Warsaw Ghetto.

  20. rickl Says:

    Beverly Says:
    April 2nd, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    When you notice them peddling these whoppers, be aware that you are not the Intended Audience. The Intended Audience for all this theatrical b***sh** is the No-Information Voter.

    That is exactly right. I think I posted something about that last week.

    When you hear them saying something that is illogical, nonsensical, or a bald-faced lie, know that you are not the intended audience. They are not trying to convince you. All they are trying to do is sway the ignorant and stupid.

  21. Ymarsakar Says:

    Ignorant and stupid V 2.0 will be coming out in the next generation. That way instead of 25-51% of Americans being that way, we’ll have 68%.

  22. Skullbuster Says:

    If sign-ups pay monthly; what will happen in 2 or 3 months when they decide this monthly charge is too expensive? Will the Dr.s and hospitals be responsible? Check out Hadassah hospital’s problems in Israel.
    I would like to know the lapse figures.

  23. Mr. Frank Says:


    I saw one report that of people who made an initial payment, 10-15% have missed a payment already. As I’ve noted in another thread, things like federal and state income taxes, Social Security, and health insurance are taken out of people’s check so they can’t miss a payment.

    With Obama care, a cash payment must be made every month. Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck. A third of Americans have savings less than $1000. How many Americans will have an extra few hundred dollars for health insurance every month? We know people miss car payments house payments, and credit card bills. If you miss an Obamacare payment, you owe two payments next month. Essentially, making your monthly payment for this mandated insurance is voluntary. Within a year this thing will be a big loser.

  24. br549 Says:

    Beginning with your article, and continuing through the comments, the numbers are all over the board, as they have been for years. 30mm and 47mm have been echoed in articles and from talking heads over the years, as well as other numbers here and there. Many who had health insurance that were paying for it no longer have it. I know quite a few people who have been forced into that situation.

    All I know for sure at this time is that for three times the monthly premium, I have health insurance for another year with my same carrier. It costs more and covers less. Out of pocket is through the roof.

  25. Roman Says:

    Many, not all, of the uninsured know how to “game” the system. Saying certain words in the ER will get you seen sooner. Knowing that you cannot be turned away and will not have to pay anything brings out the “mooch” in some. Too bad, but this is the price of an entitlement society.

  26. Mark in Portland Says:

    Unlike the Jews in the warsaw Ghetto, middle-class America is rolling over and taking what Obama is dishing out. Obama’s re-election signalled the end of a functional democracy in the US. We’re all Chavistas now.

  27. Ymarsakar Says:

    Functional democracies always ended up as tools to justify local tyrannies. It was the same for Athens, it will be the same for the Senate of the US.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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