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ObamaCare bailout train gains steam

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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Buzz Cut:
* ObamaCare bailout train gains steam
* Trillion-dollar baby
* Oh, Uncle Hassan
* Past is present for Christie after bridge debacle
* McDonnell left a surprise in the bathroom

OBAMACARE BAILOUT TRAIN GAINS STEAM
What will the White House say about young consumers spurning ObamaCare? What will insurers say about growing anger over a promised bailout if, as expected, the new law causes chaos in the industry? When will urging and tweeting and cajoling of young Americans turn into un-hipster, non-ironic threats of fines? Somebody better call “Pajama Boy,” because the first demographic snapshot of ObamaCare signups looks like a mess. The shorthand: President Obama’s signature entitlement program needs 40 percent of its enrollees to be paying customers in the prime 18-34 age range. Otherwise, the risk pool will be too shallow and insurers will have to jack up rates even more on everyone else in order to stay solvent. The first numbers show only 25 percent of enrollees are in the most desirable demographic. The administration has until the end of March to herd people into the program, but if older, sicker and more costly customers continue to so heavily outnumber the young, “risk corridors” (a.k.a. bailouts) built into the law are sure to see some traffic.

[Daily Caller shares the story of former ObamaCare supporter Steve Freiss unfortunate experience with Healthcare.gov.]

Rubio ready - Whatever anyone tells you, the next big ObamaCare battlefield will be over these bailouts. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., got there first and is holding the high ground with his bill to block the funds from flowing. But no matter how much American’s dislike the idea of an insurance bailout, they would like even less the idea of a “death spiral” resulting in escalating premiums for all, including those with employer-based insurance. The end of the spiral comes when the whole marketplace goes kablooey and everybody has to go sign up for Medicaid. Team Obama would much rather be the one playing populist cards right now, but their go-to move of scourging big insurance won’t work when the administration is trying to keep the industry placated and solvent in order to avoid an even bigger election-year uproar.

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Chris Stirewalt

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