Obamacare's Cost In North Dakota: Over 35,000 Lost Insurance, Less Than 3,000 Got Insurance


Despite the Obamacare insurance mandate which punishes the uninsured with a tax penalty in 2014, despite a high-profile political marketing campaign from the Obama administration (including hundreds of thousands of dollars of grants made to groups right here in North Dakota) the total number of people in the state who have enrolled in insurance because of Obamacare is less than 3,000.

According to Fargo Forum reporter Patrick Springer, “As of the first week of January, when coverage started through plans under the Affordable Care Act, 977 members had signed up with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, the state’s dominant insurer.” He pins the number for Sanford Health Insurance sign-ups at 92.

Meanwhile, I reported here on SAB last week that enrollments in the Obamacare-expanded Medicaid program were roughly 1,700.

Just to put that number into perspective, it was estimated by Obama administration that nearly 70,000 North Dakotans didn’t have insurance. It was estimated that the Medicaid expansion alone would attract over 30,000 new enrolees. Thanks to Obamacare, over 35,000 people with individual health insurance policies in North Dakota lost those policies (that’s 80% of the pre-Obamacare individual insurance marketplace in the state), and even though President Obama announced that those policies could be sold for another year, the largest provider of them – Blue Cross Blue Shield at over 31,000 – declined to do so.

BCBS also pulled out as a contractor for the state’s Medicaid expansion, saying they were “unable to assume the financial risk.”

Let’s do the math on that for a moment: Over 35,000 North Dakotans with individual health insurance policies lost those policies thanks to Obamacare. Meanwhile, just 3,000 have signed up for new policies either through the exchanges or the expanded Medicaid program.

And that’s not even talking about the tens of thousands of previously uninsurned North Dakotans who were supposed to flock to the exchange and/or Medicaid to get coverage.

This is what failure looks like.