- 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 healthcare.gov 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.
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.
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.