Far be it from me to not give credit where it is due. Unlike what I detailed last night in the inaugural edition of the Choice and Competition Death Watch, it should be pointed out that the new federal health care legislation did actually create a new choice in many states. A key piece of the legislation was the creation of a new set of high risk pools that would be administered by the states. Skipping the myriad of problems with administering and funding an initiative like this, it is granted that the health care legislation did create one new choice for many Americans. [Those keeping score at home will note that this is a net loss of three since I began tracking with the Choice and Competition Death Watch.]
The big problem is that almost nobody wants this choice.
It's a centerpiece of President Barack Obama's health care remake, a lifeline available right now to vulnerable people whose medical problems have made them uninsurable.
But the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan started this summer isn't living up to expectations. Enrollment lags in many parts of the country. People who could benefit may not be able to afford the premiums. Some state officials who run their own "high-risk pools" have pointed out potential problems.
The program in Texas had enrolled about 200 by early September, an official said. California, which has money for about 20,000 people, has received fewer than 450 applications, according to a state official. In Wisconsin, Goldman said they've received fewer than 300 applications so far, with room for about 8,000 people in the program.
Contrast this with the introduction of Medicare Part D under President Bush where eligible seniors were packing school gymnasiums, lining up at their pharmacies and generally getting information from anywhere and everywhere that they could so they could get their plan as soon as open enrollment started. So, Congratulations Mr. President. You did in fact increase choice in the health care market - as little desired as it may be.