On Deaf (Health Insured) Ears: Less Than 1% Opt Out of Obamacare, Despite GOP Campaign

Remember the big campaign to get young people to opt-out of Obamacare? Burn your Obamacare card they said, even though there is no such thing as an Obamacare card.

Politicians have seized the opt-out message by introducing legislation allowing states to opt-out of Obamacare. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is running a political TV ad touting his opt-out of Obamacare legislation.

So has all the opt-out efforts rallied the public to personally opt-out of Obamacare?  Apparently not.

According to a story in The Washington Post, only about 77,000 families and individual have asked for an exemption based on one of the many officials reasons someone can avoid the individual mandate to have health insurance. That is less than one percent of the 8 million who signed up for Obamacare during the open enrollment period.

And it’s not like meeting one of the exemptions is difficult. House Speaker John Boehner recently complained that the Administration has a hardship exemption that practically anyone could qualify for if they wanted to avoid the individual mandate. In fact, not one of the exemption requests has been denied.

Republicans have been sharply critical not only of the mandate but also of the many ways a person can skirt it. Various categories of people, including those belonging to certain religious groups, Native Americans and illegal immigrants, may request an exemption. There are also 14 “hardship” categories, some of them rather broad.

Republicans have reserved particular criticism for a vaguely worded, catchall category added in December — an exemption available to anyone who “experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance.”

“There’s a real question as to whether the White House just abandoned the individual mandate, the heart of Obamacare itself,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters last month.

So even though the exemption gate is wide open, very few people are going through it.

The opt-out of Obamacare campaign has failed.  Those who the law intended to help overwhelmingly want the affordable, quality health insurance being delivered.

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