Scott Gottlieb’s post about HealthCare.gov’s conversion rates contains some dry reading but it contains an interesting tidbit. First, a little background to the interesting tidbit:

The day the Obamacare data was released, I was coincidentally meeting with Jonathan Bush, the CEO of Athena Health. So I put the question of conversion rate to him, since he sells a specialized service into the healthcare space. He said that the conversion rate for Athena’s web site, for doctors who visit the site to evaluate Athena’s suite of services and then make a purchase, is 22%.

According to HHS’s own statistics, the conversion rate for HealthCare.gov is 5%. Here’s the interesting tidbit:

The problem is that the Obamcare plans aren’t attractive to consumers. They were designed in Washington to suit political prerogatives rather than being designed in the marketplace to meet the demands of consumers. They’re laden down with costly mandates that leave the products too expensive. The plans try and make up for these costs by using narrow networks of cheap doctors and closed drug formularies.

That’s what happens when government demands socialist policies but families require free market capitalism solutions. While that doesn’t mean much in the short term, it puts the ACA behind the proverbial 8-ball in the long-term. Fighting against the will of the people is a sucker’s bet that the administration will lose. It’s inevitable. People want what they want. Markets respond to what people want, although it isn’t a stretch to say that governments don’t rooutinely respond to what people want.

Here’s what Robert Laszewski said about the Affordable Care Act:

If an entrepreneur had crafted Obamacare he would’ve gone to a middle class family. A family of four make(s) $54,000 a year has to pay $400 in premiums net of subsidy and for that the standard silver plan has an average deductible around $2,500 and a narrow network. They’re going to pay almost $5,000 for that? So the entrepreneur would say I’ve got $5,000 in premium and all this deductible, what do they want for that? And they probably would’ve said we want office visits and lab tests because the kids need to go in occasionally and then we want catastrophic care. The problem with Obamacare is it’s product driven and not market driven. They didn’t ask the customer what they wanted.

Telling families what they want is foolish. It’s like telling American families that they don’t like a gas-using sedans, that they’d rather buy a Volt. How’d that work out?

Here’s another of Mr. Laszewski’s opinions:

I think that’s the fundamental problem with Obamacare. It meets the needs of very poor people because you’re giving them health insurance for free. But it doesn’t really meet the needs of healthy people and middle-class people.

That’s tough criticism but it’s fair criticism. People are staying away in droves. There’s a reason for that. It’s likely that families went shopping but didn’t find products or prices they liked.

That’s what happens when people design things without listening to the people they’re selling the product to.

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