CNN: ObamaCare Sign-ups 'Good'; Blames Insurance Industry for Lack of Young Adults
On Tuesday's New Day, CNN's Chris Cuomo and Elizabeth Cohen applauded the 2.2 million reported enrollments in ObamaCare as "good," but also lamented that only 25 percent of the sign-ups are young adults. The Obama administration had hoped that 40 percent of the enrollees would fall in the 18 to 34-year-old age group.
Cuomo and Cohen pointed the finger entirely at insurance companies for this low figure and the resulting higher health insurance premiums: [MP3 audio available here; video below]
ELIZABETH COHEN: ...If you have too many older people, your costs are going to go up, up, up, and insurance companies...were essentially told to expect around 40 percent. And so, they set their premiums accordingly. And now, insurance companies might say, hold on a minute. You didn't give us as many young people as you said you would. That means the following year, we might have to hike those premiums up – and not just a little bit, but a lot.
CHRIS CUOMO: All right, here's the cynic in me, Elizabeth: isn't that convenient – that the insurance companies, who study actuarial tables the way I struggle with shirt-tie combinations, are now saying to the government, oh, we were depending on you for the numbers. That's curious....
COHEN: ..[I]s it possible that, between now and the end of March, we're going to have lots of young people come in; we are going to meet that 40 percent expectation? Absolutely, that's possible, and if that happens, that's great. But I'll tell you, if it doesn't happen, it really is a problem for the insurance companies. I don't mean to say, oh, the poor little insurance companies – I can be as cynical as the next person about insurance companies...But I will say that this is a real problem. They were told to expect a certain percentage. They set prices accordingly. If it stays at 25 percent, that is going to be a real economic issue.
The former ABC anchor replied to the CNN medical correspondent by claiming that "it also has a fix, though...They can raise their prices." Cuomo then hinted that he was still hopeful that ObamaCare's questionable structure could still work out in the end:
CUOMO: It also has a fix, though, Elizabeth. They can raise their prices. There are adjustments to be made. I mean, we do have a big wait-and-see factor here, and when you're in one of those, you have to, kind of, keep the emotions on hold until you see where the numbers fall-
COHEN: But if you raise prices, you might make it unaffordable for people. That's the issue-
CUOMO: Well, that's true. That's true. That's true, and that's why there's a lot still to be seen here, but we need more numbers. We need more sign-ups. We got to let the wheels turn a little bit here, Elizabeth, but they're starting to.
Cuomo certainly has a record of boosting the controversial law. Back on the November 15, 2013 edition of New Day, the CNN host wondered if the attention on the million of American losing their health insurance due to ObamaCare was a GOP "straw man" that was "distracting" the news media.
Five days later, he blasted Republican Senator Ted Cruz for his criticism of the law: "You're being a little dangerous with how much political spin you put on something that's so central to the well being of so many families." Cuomo also denied that the law was "not working" as it was advertised: "How can we say it's not working when it isn't implemented yet? How can you say premiums are skyrocketing when they haven't put the plans into effect yet?"
The anchor labeled the Little Sisters of the Poor's lawsuit against the Obama administration's contraception/abortifacient mandate a "growing distraction from dealing with the problems of ObamaCare" on November 27, 2013, and added that "it also raises the question at what point do you stop challenging the law? At what point do you accept that this was passed, it was tested by the Supreme Court?"
— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.