Health

Obamacare Numbers Are Nothing to Celebrate

'Surge' of enrollees still doesn't mean there is affordable care for more people

The numbers aren’t surprising, but you should know they are deceptive.

The Obama administration this week is touting the high number of health care consumers who signed up for Obamacare over the past month-and-a-half as an indicator of the law’s success and importance.

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Roughly 6.4 million Americans are said to have registered on Healthcare.gov between Nov. 1 and Dec. 19, indicating “clear demand for quality, affordable coverage,” the U.S. government stated on Wednesday. That would be an increase of 400,000 people over the same period a year ago.

“It’s no surprise, since President-Elect Trump has called for repealing and replacing Obamacare,” Brian Joondeph, a Denver-based physician and writer, told LifeZette. “This is analogous to the surge in illegal immigration recently ahead of Trump’s promise to ‘build a wall.’ Get in now before the door closes, whether on Obamacare insurance or illegal immigration.”

Related: The Biggest Fallacy About Repealing Obamacare

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Overall, Democrats claim more than 20 million people have signed up for Obamacare since its launch in 2013. They say that if the law is repealed, all of these people and more could lose their coverage.

“The real figure is much lower, however, and almost all the gains came by stuffing more people into the decrepit Medicaid program,” Investor’s Business Daily wrote this week in an editorial. Joondeph, who wrote an article on the issue previously for LifeZette, and Dr. Ramin Oskoui, a cardiologist in the Washington, D.C., area, who is also CEO of Foxhall Cardiology PC and a regular contributor to LifeZette, both agree.

“There’s a huge difference between having an insurance card and having access to quality health care you can use,” said an industry analyst.

The Heritage Foundation has said repeatedly over the past few years that the ACA’s enrollment numbers are inflated — most recently, by almost 42 percent. Actual gains in coverage are closer to 14 million, Investor’s Business Daily noted. Of that population, only 2.2 million people gained private coverage, according to Heritage.

The other 11.8 million went on Medicaid — a program many of them were already eligible for (and which costs the taxpayer money).

Regardless, even with enrollment in Obamacare, a growing number of Americans can’t afford to go to their doctor. Insurance cards amount to little more than a plastic card in the wallet, said Nathan Nascimento, senior policy adviser for Freedom Partners.

A Post-Obamacare World: How Patients Will Benefit

“The Obama administration’s single-minded focus on coverage rather than affordable care is the same as a football team celebrating all the yards it gained while losing the game,” Nascimento said in a statement. “There’s a huge difference between having an insurance card you’re required to carry, and having access to quality health care you can use. This administration’s failure to recognize that is one of the reasons Obamacare has failed, and must be repealed.”

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