NEW YORK (MainStreet) While Obamacare enrollment did increase during the open enrollment period ending in April, the program did not serve the uninsured, according to findings of a McKinsey Center for U.S. Healthcare Reform survey.
Of course, that uninsured demographic was the prime reason for its implementation. Only 26% of the enrollees reported being previously uninsured. By a three-to-one margin, enrollees in Obamacare were previously insured.
Furthermore, only 83% of the previously uninsured have paid their first premium compared to 89% of the previously insured who paid their premium. Also, according to the survey, only "only 21% of the previously uninsured respondents in our April survey who indicated that they had shopped for coverage reported enrolling in a plan."
This lends credence to the often heard criticism by Republicans that Obama's reform program caused more people to lose insurance then it did to insure the uninsured. So it is difficult to see where Obamacare benefitted those who President Obama said it was going to benefit - the uninsured.
Also See: Uninsured Who Passed on Obamacare Said It Was Because of Cost
The reason provided most often for not enrolling by both previously insured and previously uninsured was the affordability.
But about 90% of all were eligible for subsidies and did not know it. According to McKinsey, "66% of the April respondents and 65% of the February respondents who were subsidy-eligible and who reported that they had shopped but did not enroll because of affordability concerns were unaware of their eligibility." To boot, previously uninsured, subsidy-eligible respondents who indicated they were aware of the subsidies were almost three times as likely to have reported enrolling as those who were unaware.
Reactions to the survey have been mixed.
"It is a survey, so it is not definitive," said Ed Haislmaier, a health care policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington D.C. "I am looking for real market data that is forthcoming. It is quite possible that most of those who enrolled were previously insured. Insurers file quarterly reports. By June there will probably data available from them."
Meanwhile, Scott Brown, the former Republican Senator from Massachusetts and current Republican New Hampshire senatorial candidate issued a press release stating: "A new report from the respected consulting firm McKinsey & Company reveals that three-fourths of Obamacare sign-ups were previously insured. This finding is consistent with what I have heard from middle-class citizens all across New Hampshire. Their old policies were cancelled, and now they're paying more for new policies that contain mandated coverages they didn't ask for and don't need. These people are not 'misinformed'...For them, Obamacare isn't working."
Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington D.C. said the survey reinforces what has been said in the past.
"This survey is reflective of other studies - such as Rand - that indicate significant numbers of those enrolled in Obamacare were those who were previously insured," he said. "I would not get hung up on the particular numbers. This survey is just a snapshot in time. But it is consistent with all the other studies that have been done."
If this remains, then President Obama - and the Democrats who voted for it- will have to explain to the voters come November why there was this massive expenditure by the government to insure the uninsured when instead what occurred was the inverse.
--Written by Michael P. Tremoglie for MainStreet