After echoing my remark of yesterday (“the end of the beginning”), Megan McArdle considers some of the things we still don’t know about the PPACA:
· How many people have bought and paid for policies
· How many people have signed up for Medicaid who weren’t eligible before 2010
· How many people who are buying insurance didn’t have insurance before
· How the new policies compare to the old policies
· How much subsidies are costing
Will we know the answers in due course? Insurance expert Bob Laszewski isn’t so sure:
We only need ask the carriers for two numbers:
The number of people they insured (and were paid for) in both the individual and small group markets as of December 31, 2013––the day before Obamacare started covering people.
The number of people that were insured (and paid for) in both the individual and small group markets on a specific date––March 31, 2014, for example.
I will suggest that asking for both the small group and individual market numbers is important as people have a tendency to move between the markets, particularly as employers drop coverage and their people go, or don’t go, into the exchanges.
Then subtract one total from the other. We would have an excellent idea of just how many more people, net of any gains and losses, secured private insurance since Obamacare’s launch.
It would probably be best if the administration answered some of the open questions as quickly as possible and certainly within the next several weeks. I can assure you from personal experience that, as Mr. Laszewski asserts, the carriers know the answers and can provide them very rapidly. Congressional Republicans have telephones,too.
See also Charles Ornstein’s consideration of some of the same questions.
Some of the law’s supporters don’t care how effective the PPACA is or isn’t. It’s the idea of it they support and they’re convinced that they’ve secured their victory regardless of the law’s performance or actual results. We’ll know in due course.