Fox News host Chris Wallace said Sunday that “ one of the problems” with Obamacare is that it is helping too many poor people sign up for Medicaid.
“One of the problems so far is that many people are signing up for Medicaid than are signing up into the private insurance plans in the marketplace,” Wallace said.
He reported that in the state of Maryland last week 82,000 people signed up for Medicaid and only 3,000 enrolled in a private insurance plan.
He asked guest James Capretta of the American Enterprise Institute to explain how this contributes to the “death spiral” of Medicaid.
What’s happening is these people who go onto the website and actually enter their personal income information, if it’s low enough they automatically sign them up for Medicaid,” Capretta said. “They just put them in the Medicaid program. There’s no premium, so it’s very easy. They says ‘You’re income’s very low and you’re on Medicaid.’ On the other people, people have to pay private insurance. They actually owe a premium …”
“That explains the death spiral as the impact this could have if you have people who don’t sign up or are in something like Medicaid and therefore aren’t paying into the system,” Wallace said.
“We both agree that we need to sign up in the private market for it to be viable,” argued former White House health care adviser Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel. “The second thing is, you would expect at this stage of the game, from everything we know about the exchanges, that not a lot of people would sign up. That’s why I called for — [the Heathcare.gov website] has got to be fixed by November 30. Because at that point, people are going to begin buying.”
Dr. Emanuel said those numbers are irrelevant at this point.
“We have all the way until March 31 to get 5 to 7 million people and we would expect naturally — I don’t pay attention to those number, by the way — because we would expect naturally people will put off buying until the end and therefore those numbers are irrelevant,” he added.