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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Obamacare Enrollment Hits 7,000,000 Target

Posted by on Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 11:54 AM

President Barack Obama fist bumps Vice President Joe Biden, with Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett looking on, before a meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 16, 2010.
  • Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
  • President Barack Obama fist bumps Vice President Joe Biden, with Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett looking on, before a meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 16, 2010.


Seven million was the White House's initial projection. After a rash of severe technical problems during the roll out of the website, the White House brought that number in line with the Congressional Budget Office's 6 million figure. As we've reported, the month of March has been a blockbuster for the new health care exchanges. The pace of enrollments picked up drastically, as the open enrollment deadline of March 31 approached. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said during his regular press briefing that about 200,000 people signed up yesterday, bringing the total number of enrollees to 7.04 million by midnight last night.

Great news!

And Republicans—who will never offer a Republican alternative health-care plan and who will never acknowledge that Obamacare used to be the Republican alternative to the kind of single-payer health care plan preferred by liberals, progressives, and sane countries everywhere (countries like Canada, Germany, France, Israel, and Vatican City)—are gnashing their teeth. But even with Obamacare's popularity rising Republicans will still win the midterm elections thanks to gerrymandering, transparently racist efforts to make it harder for people of color to vote (which Salon plans to cover once they pinch out twenty more #CancelColbert "think" pieces (#CancelColbert is to Salon as #MH730 is to CNN)), and the fact that poor people, young people, people of color, and white kids with dreadlocks tend to sit out midterm elections.


Even with millions of Americans gaining access to health care thanks to Obamacare—seven million have signed up, but 9.5 million are now covered thanks to Obamacare (Medicare expansion, kids who can stay on their parents health care plans until they're 26)—the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 30,000,000 Americans will remain uninsured in 2017 despite Obamacare. That number is not expected to budge. There were 60,000,000 uninsured Americans before the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act and halving the number of uninsured Americans is a huge achievement and a hard-won victory. But... again... still: 30,000,000 uninsured Americans. So the hardships, bankruptcies, and deaths due to lack of access to health care will continue. But instead of 45,000 Americans dying every year because they lack health coverage, after 2017 we can look forward to "only" 22,500 Americans dying annually because they lack access to health coverage. That's "just" 7.5 9/11s. Every year. Forever.

So, yeah.

Let's take a moment to celebrate the successful launch of Obamacare. (And let's protect Obamacare by VOTING in the midterms, people.) But let's not fool ourselves: our health care crisis isn't over. We still need to fight for a single-payer system that covers all American citizens.


Comments (21) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Thanks for this post. Fighting for single payer is definitely the next step, and we should start by promoting the public option that was dropped from the ACA.
Posted by Jizzlobber on April 1, 2014 at 12:07 PM · Report this
You did such a great job banging the drum to get people to vote for Obama in both 2008 and 2012 - how about banging the drum a bit more about the mid-terms. A Republican-controlled congress is dangerous to our sexual freedom among many other things. People listen to you, Dan.
Posted by cookiemom6067 on April 1, 2014 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Wait, but that graph last night showed us as being only a third of the way there????
Posted by Hanoumatoi on April 1, 2014 at 12:33 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 4

A day or two ago, on the SlOG page Twitter Feed, there was an entry about comma usage. The statement was like "Join our prayer circle jerk...or...Join our prayer circle, jerk." Mildly clever, nothing i would twitter about if I had that service, but it did make me think of the enjoyable Oxford Comma hullabaloo that Kiley had been wring about over the past few months. With that said, I somehow instantly read your last bit, CookieMom, as: "People, listen to you Dan." Doesn't make the sense I would prefer, although it positively changes the directive, which is thought provoking enough for me. Thanks.
Posted by dnt trust me on April 1, 2014 at 12:44 PM · Report this
emma's bee 5
Nice rant, as usual, Dan. One minor quibble, though: Germany does not have a single-payer system. It's a mix of 'public' and 'private' insurance, much of its cost borne by employer- and self-funded premiums. It is compulsory and universal, however, and there are public funds to cover the unemployed.
Posted by emma's bee on April 1, 2014 at 1:18 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 6

France is also not single-payer.
Posted by keshmeshi on April 1, 2014 at 1:45 PM · Report this
stinkbug 7
I wish I had bought stock in the phrase "cook the books" two weeks ago.

Right wing talking heads can't get enough of that phrase this week.
Posted by stinkbug on April 1, 2014 at 1:53 PM · Report this
My daughter, who grew up in France, is planning to move from Colorado to Atlanta in the fall. She doesn't pay enough attention to the news because she hadn't heard that Georgia just passed a law allowing concealed guns in bars and restaurants (she works in a restaurant) or that she won't be eligible for Medicaid like she is in CO. When I told her all this last night there was a pause and she said, "It's like they WANT you to die over here."

@6 France has a mixed system like Germany but you are never left completely uncovered when you're between jobs or studying.
Posted by KCFrance on April 1, 2014 at 1:55 PM · Report this
I have a buddy who's a nurse and her mom is one too. They said a few unfavorable things about Obamacare. Then I asked, "Is it better than the system we had?" "Yes," my friend answered without reservation. "Can we use it as a stepping stone to get another one?" "Yes" again.
Posted by DRF on April 1, 2014 at 2:08 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 10
has anyone axed the 30 million who haven't signed up what is their major malfunction?

are they standing on principle?

are they red staters living under a GOP gov'ner?

do they live under a rock?
Posted by Max Solomon on April 1, 2014 at 2:11 PM · Report this
Right on Dan first this then the public option and finally single payer.
Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on April 1, 2014 at 2:52 PM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 12
@10, I simply never bothered to do it. It's just one more bill. Whether subsidized or not, one more life complication.
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on April 1, 2014 at 3:13 PM · Report this
blip 13
@10, I'm guessing there are a lot of people who are uninsured because they are young, healthy, or never experienced a medical emergency. It's very easy to take your good health for granted when that's all you've ever known. Until you get socked with a $5000 bill for a trip to the ER, a couple hundred bucks a month probably sounds like a huge waste of money.
Posted by blip on April 1, 2014 at 3:25 PM · Report this
A decent chunk of the 30M probably live in states that refused to expand Medicaid, and even with subsidies, can't afford coverage. Some others look at it as an expense they can't afford, even though they can't NOT afford it (I have a friend who complains at least once a day on Facebook that her premiums would be "unaffordable," but also that medical expenses she's currently paying out of pocket are MORE). Some probably just plum forgot. And some are probably standing on principle. It's not too hard to imagine that less than 10% of the population falls into one of those groups.
Posted by Ms. D on April 1, 2014 at 4:39 PM · Report this
@14 I suspect some people just are confused and unsure what is best for them, and it's easier to maintain the status quo and do nothing than to sign up for something. Some people are probably just busy and tired and don't have the energy to think about it. Some people don't have English as a fluent language or aren't fully literate or have other issues with comprehension, and they may be intimidated by the paperwork hoops. Sure, much has been done to try to make it easy and accessible, but it won't reach everyone.
Posted by uncreative on April 1, 2014 at 4:49 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 16
@12: have you estimated your tax penalty?
Posted by Max Solomon on April 1, 2014 at 5:10 PM · Report this
Ophian 17
Max @10, I'm not signed up, because I cannot afford it even after subsidy.

blip @13, if I were signed up, I would spend a couple hundred a month and that $5000 ER bill would not be covered.

I sure hope the ACA is a stepping stone to real healthcare reform. But I expect that the ACA will forestall a better system being instituted. That is what it was designed to do, back when it was a Republican idea.

The ACA is a sop to the insurance industry, and all I get is unaffordable insurance--not access to healthcare.
Posted by Ophian on April 1, 2014 at 5:23 PM · Report this
A few notes on the figures being bandied about here:

That 7 million is mostly (about 60-70%) people who already had insurance, had it cancelled and had to enroll through the exchanges. The actual number of new enrollees is closer to two million based on at least two surveys. That's the number of sign-ups not the actual number of enrollees, which will be smaller.

Second, the reduction in uninsured, when you include everything, is probably between 6 million (pessimistically) 10 million (optimistically), not 30 million. The 30 million number you are citing is the CBO's original estimate when PPACA passed. So we're looking at a third of what was projected.

Make of that what you will.
Posted by Hal_10000 on April 1, 2014 at 5:28 PM · Report this
One thing I am taking away from this post: Black people and latinos: I know it is a mid-term vote but get out and VOTE in this election! It is IMPORTANT we all get counted.
Posted by BG on April 1, 2014 at 6:41 PM · Report this
President Barack Obama fists Vice President Joe Biden, with Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett looking on...

fixed it for you
Posted by Fuck you Obama on April 1, 2014 at 6:45 PM · Report this
Um - re "(Medicare expansion, kids who can stay on their parents health care plans until they're 26)"

I assume you meant MediCaid expansion? as far as I know, Medicare didn't expand.
Posted by abrock_ca on April 1, 2014 at 8:22 PM · Report this

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