this point, enough people are signing up that the Affordable Care Act is going
to work. The insurance companies will continue to offer these plans. We already
have four million people, over four million people signed up. It will be a
larger number than that by the end of March 31st,the deadline to get insurance
this year. If you miss the deadline, by the way, on March 31st, you can get
insurance but you'll have to wait until November of next year -- or November of
this year -- to start signing up again. You know, the impact in terms of the program
has always been based more on the mix of people who sign up. Do we have a mix
of people who are gray-haired like me and may have some old basketball injuries
and aches and pains, along with young people who are healthy and don't really have
any issues right now?
have a good mix of gender, in terms of men and women? Because one of the things
that I didn't mention earlier --in traditional insurance, women have been
charged more than men. Essentially, being a woman was a preexisting condition,
and it justified higher premiums. And we've eliminated that. Not just for plans
under the Affordable Care Act but for plans generally you can’t discriminate
against women in terms of how you charge folks. But...what you'll find, I
think, is that the marketplace will be stable. And the premiums are going to be
reflective of the fact that there are a lot of people who have already signed up.
Now, the larger these marketplaces get --you know, a year from now, two years
from now, three years from now, as the program develops --potentially that
brings the cost down even more.
all 40 million people who didn’t have health insurance all signed up by March
31st --in which case there probably would be a line, a little bit, in terms of
signing up --but if all 40 million people signed up, then you could assure that
probably the premiums would go down significantly next year, just because the
pool would have gone beyond what the insurance companies anticipated. You know,
the basic principle in insurance is pretty straightforward -- the more you can
spread the risk with more people, the better deal you’re going to get. And now
the pool is already large enough. The number of people who have signed up is
already large enough that I'm confident the program will be stable, but we look
forward to seeing more and more people take advantage of it as some of the
politics of the thing get drained away, as people start feeling more confident
about the website, as folks like you spread the word in terms of giving people
accurate information. Then, over time, I think a lot more people are going to take
advantage of it.
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