So forget about the loss of freedom and the increased taxes and spending spearheaded by Obamacare: how many people will Obamacare supposedly help?

It’s been like giving a party to which no one comes. The Medicare program chief actuary predicted last spring that 375,000 would sign up for the new risk pool insurance in 2010. But by the end of November, only 8,000 had done so. As Amy Goldstein reports in The Washington Post, this includes 75 in Virginia, 80 in New Hampshire, 97 in Maryland and a whopping 700 in North Carolina.

While a lot of people are surprised by these numbers, I am not. Here is why. Don’t you think it is a bit odd for the White House to send out an appeal to victims so they can identify themselves? That’s not normally how the political system works.

The more usual scenario is: victims unite and form interest groups; they lobby Congress, write letters, testify, etc; and eventually the pressure become so great that Congress legislates.

When have you ever heard of that entire process in reverse? When has Congress ever before decided it wants to do something and then conducted a nationwide search to find people who will benefit?

The reasons for the reversal is that this whole problem has been completely hyped and exaggerated from the get go. In this country we have made it increasingly easy for people to get health insurance after they get sick.

But Obamacare must turn out to be really cheap since so few people are using it, right? Right?

Even though they have less than 1/40th of the expected enrollment, the plans are already running out of the money.


(HT: Megan McArdle.)

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