10.22.2013 20

Get ready for Obamacare auto-enroll


By Robert Romano

While President Barack Obama attempts to put a happy face on the cluster rollout of Healthcare.gov and other state exchanges, where only a half million people are said to have applied for government-subsidized insurance, it may be time to start asking if this was not all a part of the plan in the first place.

Consider the dilemma facing the Obama administration. More than 80 million Americans aged 26 to 64 years old making less than $46,000 not already on Medicaid now qualify for Obamacare, whether through Medicaid or the insurance exchanges, based on data from the U.S. Census and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Of the half million that have reportedly applied, there is no word yet on how many of them actually qualify or will ultimately enroll in the program. And even if every single one of them did qualify — a highly dubious prospect — at the program’s current pace it would take about ten years to sign everyone up. And that’s not even taking population growth into account.

Couple that with the web server failures at Healthcare.gov and Obama in the interim having to direct Americans to a switchboard at 1-800-318-2596 to apply, and it appears that the road to “universal” health care is set to be a bumpy one at the outset.

Making the problem more daunting, as many as 43 percent of the nation’s uninsured are not even aware that come January 2014, they must purchase or carry health insurance or else pay a fine, according to a June Gallup survey.

“If they ever get their website working, and millions who qualify still do not sign up for a product they never asked for, we should expect they will at some point simply be auto-enrolled,” predicted Americans for Limited Government (ALG) president Nathan Mehrens.

Of course, the lack of universal enrollment in programs like Medicaid has long been a topic of considerable interest in the ivory towers of the nation’s health care policy elites. A 2006 study by Stan Dorn and Genevieve M. Kenney found that “Sixty-two percent of uninsured children qualify for but are not enrolled in Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Similarly, two-thirds of uninsured, poor parents qualify for Medicaid but are not enrolled.”

The solution, per Dorn and Kenney? “Auto enrollment could reach many of these uninsured families. Under this strategy, eligible parents and children receive health coverage based on information already in the hands of state officials, rather than through full, formal applications for Medicaid or SCHIP.”

The study cited numerous examples where this has already been done, including Medicare Part B “into which seniors are enrolled automatically unless they decline participation, covers 96 percent of eligible seniors.”

“The entire push for ‘universal’ health care in the U.S. is simply unbridled government coercion to force individuals to behave in a certain way,” ALG’s Mehrens commented.

Anecdotally, in the mid-2000s when the college I attended, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, instituted a mandatory insurance program, lacking coverage I was automatically enrolled in a student health plan. Student health plans had already been available, but it was not until it was required that I was forced to pay for it and automatically added that I actually enrolled.

So, it will come as no surprise to me when health care officials in Washington, D.C. eventually give up on the ill-suited Healthcare.gov strategy to achieve “universal” coverage. But nobody else should be caught off-guard either, even if this is their first experience with a mandatory coverage regime.

In fact, auto enroll is already the top policy recommendation of Enroll America, a non-profit set up to promote Obamacare. The plan to get everyone on Obamacare is to “automatically enroll people who are already known to be eligible,” including “us[ing] data from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to determine eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP,” and “connect[ing] eligible parents to coverage if their children are already enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP,” and “min[ing] existing databases to identify and enroll uninsured residents who are already known to be eligible for coverage programs.”

That’s right, if Obamacare’s biggest supporters have their way, you’ll be enrolled whether you like it or not.

Enroll America is a coalition including in its board of directors the American Hospital Association, Blue Shield of California, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Families USA, Kaiser Permanente, Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, National Association of Community Health Centers, and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA.

Its advisory council includes AARP, Aetna, Inc., American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, American Nurses Association, Ascension Health, Asian and Pacific Islander American  Health Forum, Association for Community Affiliated Plans, CareSource. Catholic Charities USA, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Doctors for America, Easter Seals, Express Scripts, Healthcare Leadership Council, HMS, Maximus, Medicaid Health Plans of America, MomsRising, National Association of Free Clinics, National Association of Health Underwriters, National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, National Council of La Raza, National Council for Community, Behavioral Healthcare, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Indian Health Board, National Medical Association, Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), Pennsylvania Health Law Project, United Way Worldwide, Voices for America’s Children, and Young Invincibles.

With heavy hitters like that, it likely won’t be long before auto enrollment becomes the Obama administration’s go-to strategy, particularly if Healthcare.gov proves to be a major failure. To heck with the website, this may be what they had in mind the whole time.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government. 

  • al003

    At the present time the reported enrollees are 16,000 as of this day, 10-22-13. Yesterday Obama said there is a huge need for this program and from the over 20 million people who have visited the website proves this issue….. Yeah right!!.
    Obama and his stooges will attempt to drive this nightmare down the throats of the productive citizens of this country and over time this program will end up as stupid as the Social Security Program.
    I wrote a paper on SocSec in high school and showed exactly why this program could never survive without massive inputs of cash from the taxpayers of the nation to help it along year after year…… And what happened and continues to happen month by month….. That is right, bureaucrats belly up to the SocSec trough and bleed the program as if it was a cash cow…. and the taxpayer continues to be bled by the government thieves to keep this stupidity alive…
    ObamaCare is another feel good program that is all BS and will, in the end, have to be dumped sooner or later as the bureaucrats and non taxpayers overpower the system……. Read the book ‘Rules for Radicals’ by Alilnski and you will see where this is all headed….. IT IS CALLED SOCIALISM AND IT IS WHAT BROUGHT RUSSIA DOWN AND IT WILL DESTROY THE UNITED STATES TOO…..
    The rule for a good civilization is ‘if you do not produce then you will not eat’. There is no free lunch, someone always has to pay the bill…. And Obama believes that person paying is someone other than him and his friends….. Soon this clown will be out of office, but then he will be an Ex-president and on a lifetime dole just like the rest of Expresidents…. and Ex Congress persons and Ex many other BS artists….
    Soon we need to wake up to reality. If you are healthy and alive, then you must pay your own way, period…. WE are arriving to the point that there are more people in the wagon than are pulling the wagon……. This is not sustainable!!!

  • WilliamSpires

    It’s time to replace all of the devious bastards in Wash.d.c. !!!

  • PMDavis

    All that is going on is just a scam anyway. Everyone will get so frustrated and angry with the current setup, that when Obama recommends or rolls out the single-payer option, everyone will jump at it, which is what the democrats all want anyway. Then the government will control everything and everyone.

  • fastfood

    That’s been the mantra all along but it seems apparent not enough folks have as much sense.

  • fastfood

    Really? “mid-2000s”? You’ve already been there?

  • Paul

    We all know what is going to happen when this mess is fully implemented. Only the poor will sign up and they will not have enough healthy people sign up to cover the costs. Additionally, when January 1st comes around and penalties are implemented, the young and working people will go ballistic. Just wait and see; this is nothing more than another entitlement program that was not needed.

  • pduffy

    It’s the ‘frog boiling in a pot of water’ scenario. If you turn up the heat slowly, the frog boils to death, but if you toss him into an already boiling pot, he leaps out and lives. The progressives started out slowly with ‘medicare’ (the elderly population), then moved to the ‘children’ (medicaid), and now they are closing the gap. Then, as a final move – single payer. You won’t be able to use your own money to buy health care. The frog is boiled to death.

  • pduffy

    I have no plans of enrolling or paying the fine. I am a free human being and cannot be forced to buy anything.

  • PMDavis

    I agree. When everyone could have stood with Ted Cruz and boycotted Obamacare and got it delayed, no one stood or supported him at all. But, as usual, many of them got paid off like Mitch McConnell who I understand got $2.3 billion to build a new damn in Kentucky if he sided with Reid. I’m sure everyone else was bought too.

  • DAY8293A

    IGNORANT DUMBO CRAPS keep voting for ignorant dumbo craps…. You should not be allowed to vote without a high school diploma, earned in high school, not an after school diploma… stop high school drops,, don’t graduate, and you don’t become a voter,, simple and effective,,, too stupid to read and write, too stupid to vote,,,

  • suzy2


  • Slimjim

    hell no to all obamacare !!!!!

  • KathLop

    Good thing we paid $634M for healthcare.gov

  • feedup

    Sounds like dictatorship. I believe Obama will not stop until this country is under a socialist government. Unless he is booted out. Just another way for the government to control us. Our amendments are slowly slipping away, to the point of making me want to move.

  • teridavisnewman

    Actually if you are on government assistance of any kind you shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Democracy dies when 51% discover they can vote themselves a key to the treasury.

  • DAY8293A

    Actually, those that pay into SSA and Medicare should be the only ones getting SSA and Medicare, and since they paid for it, they should still be allowed to vote. The key is, unless you have had a job and actually paid taxes, you don’t vote. The problem is the 17th amendment. It changed the constitution. It allowed senators to be elected, taking away the states rights. The house was the people’s house, the senate was the states house. It was to keep stupid judges from being put on the bench, and keep the slugs from voting for thieves from stealing from the treasury,,,

  • majorx

    If those scumbag republicans let Obama slip auto enroll through, I write them off for good.

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