Obamacare Sales Surge

obama-funny-smile-350Remember Budowsky’s first law of insider punditry: When the media and political herds are tripping over each other’s hoofs while stampeding in a certain direction, the herds are almost always wrong.

Take note of the fact that in recent days, the traffic to the Affordable Care websites has skyrocketed, and sales of insurance policies have surged nationally and in key states.

Some of the big stories of 2014, I predict, will be: First, reports of ObamaCare’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, and sales will be on an upward curve through the first quarter of 2014.

Second, insurance companies will spend well over $100 million to market their policies to consumers, because they have a tremendous vested interest in new signups.

Third, ObamaCare will be a particular success in blue states with Democratic governors and insurance commissioners who are consumer-friendly.

And that is why: Fourth, Democrats, progressives, liberals and populists who are smart will continue to own the healthcare issue with American voters.

My mini-enlightenment was caused, strangely enough, by a story on Fox News, which suggested (correctly) that consumers in red states were getting the worst deal under ObamaCare. I had an exchange with the individual on Fox who did that story, which I promised to keep off the record.

I am at liberty to state my response to the story, which was: Doesn’t the story suggest that voters in red states with Republican governors would receive better and cheaper healthcare if they became blue states and elected Democratic governors? The answer, I propose, is yes.

Watch California — a state with a progressive Democratic governor who has supported the healthcare law, acted to make it work, done a good job protecting consumers — which has had a major surge in signups.

Watch Kentucky, a more conservative state with a centrist Democratic governor who has similarly worked overtime on behalf of his constituents to deliver better healthcare for them and create another success story for the Affordable Care Act.

On the other hand watch Texas, whose Republican governor, indistinguishable from an insurance company lobbyist, has done everything he can to obstruct and destroy the law, to the detriment of his constituents.

Memo to Wendy Davis: Run for governor of Texas against the crony capitalist Republicans and on behalf of the insurance consumers of Texas, who would join the blue-state trend of better deals for policyholders with Democratic governors.

For liberals nationally, remember that for every abuse from the insurance industry, there are lots of new supporters for the public option, which has always had about 60 percent support from voters. Liberal pressure for the public option is a great check and balance against insurer abuse and a great case to take to voters in 2014.

Also, for liberals nationally, remember the overwhelming support for Medicare and Social Security, issues that have always solidified the Democratic ownership of healthcare. Let Republicans continue to push for cuts in Medicare and Social Security. Democrats should respond as Clint responded to the bad guys: Go ahead, make my day.

Add it all up and 2014 will be the comeback year for ObamaCare and the powerful revival of the long-term Democratic ownership of the healthcare issue.

The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect. It is a good idea to extend deadlines, which I long ago proposed, to give consumers more time to choose on a matter as important as healthcare. Problems that emerge should be fixed. Changes when needed should be made.

Brent BudowskyBut Republicans who launch search and destroy missions against the Affordable Care Act think they are attacking Democrats. In truth they are attacking Americans who want better healthcare. Republicans who want to repeal, obstruct and destroy better healthcare for Americans do not speak for Americans.

ObamaCare sales are surging, and blue-state consumers are doing better than red-state consumers. And this old adage remains true: If you want to live like a Republican, vote for Democrats, and your healthcare, Medicare and Social Security will be better for it!

Brent Budowsky
The Hill


  1. Ryder says

    Well, I see that the classic “comparison to a vacuum” is being used… Obamacare sales COMPARED TO WHAT? Dare you compare to Obamacare policy cancellations? (Five million+ cancellations).

    The beginning of 2014 were *supposed* to begin the cancellation of insurance plans that MOST people use… those delivered through their employer. Emperor Obama declared that the law will be ignored, and he has decreed that those with employer medical benefits will not see cancellations until after the next election.

    These cancellations are expected to be upwards of 100 million people.

    The cancellation of policies has thus far vastly outpaced enrollment… by 500%… and that is before the truly massive cancellations begin after the November elections. (cancellations that would be happening about now, had Emperor Obama not declared that they should begin after the elections).

    It’s always much easier, when you compare something… to nothing at all.

    • JoeWeinstein says

      ‘Compared to what?’ is in principle a great question and I commend your comment for raising it. But it’s meaningless to compare sales to never-before-insured folks to cancellations of existing policies.

      That’s because in essence EVERY insurance policy is anyhow automatically ‘cancelled’ at the end of its premium period – typically at most a year – and even if it’s customary to speak of ‘continuing’ a policy, that action requires not only paying the premium but also the company agreeing to ‘continue’ the policy (i.e. offer a policy with terms that both consumer and company view as essentially the same, except for minimum changes which are unavoidable because last year and this year are not identical).

      The great majority, if not all, of recent policy cancellations or threat
      thereof could have occurred at company option no matter whether there was an ACA or not. A company may choose to scapegoat ACA for its decisions, but with or without ACA the company anyhow has the right to ‘cancel ‘ – not continue – a policy after the limited term of the policy (typically a year) is up.

      This situation is hardly a shocker. Few if any laws require any company to stay perpetually in business (insurance or anything else) – or to keep offering the very same ‘same’ or ‘unchanged’ products this year as it offered last year – if it doesn’t want to, or if it sees fit to upgrade its products or to ‘reorganize’ (i.e. formally go out of business but de facto reconstitute itself under a new name) – so long as the company either fulfills contractual and similar obligations (like due prior notice) or provides for equivalent compensation.

      In our economic system, long-term service and guarantees to the consumer are not supposed to be protected by a legal obligation of any one particular company to stay in business but rather by another mechanism: a competitive market which is always open to potentially profitable entry by new companies who are ready to offer value to consumers.

      ACA, far from being any sort of ‘socialism’, in fact endorses and adopts this market concept, in the particular realm of med-cost insurance.

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