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7 Is Obamacare's New Number


The number 7 pointed to both good and bad news for Obamacare this week. On the hand, Reuters reported that only 7 percent of Americans think the rollout of the exchanges has gone well. That number isn’t surprising given the enormous technical failures of the federal exchanges, but it does show that the shutdown and debt ceiling shenanigans on the Hill haven’t distracted people as much as we thought it might from the ACA’s bellyflop of an implementation.

But there’s another 7 number floating out there as well. According to the same Reuters story, 7 percent of Americans say someone in their household has tried to sign up for insurance on the exchanges in the last two weeks. That could mean as many as 20 million people. Given the high failure rate forced by technical glitches, only 1 of every 10 people who tried to buy insurance actually succeeded in doing so. That could mean that around 2 million people may have signed up for insurance so far.

If enrollment really is close to 2 million already (and there is some anecdotal evidence that suggests that this number is too high), that’s a pretty good number for the administration, whose stated aim was to have 7 million new insured by the end of March. The individual mandate doesn’t take take effect until Jan. 1, so 20 million trying to get insurance and 2 million succeeding even before that date is a good sign.

Of course, the administration has missed a huge opportunity to crush its 7 million number right off the bat by unveiling a poorly designed system. But for the time being at least, it seems like the rollout may have been a PR disaster, but not fatal to the enrollment targets Obama has set for the law.

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  • lehnne

    It is fantasy to think that the federal government that has compromised the financial system beyond recognition will deliver on its healthcare it they can just get software that works and get people can sign up.

  • wigwag

    Of course most of the state run exchanges are working well. New York had about a day and a half of problems which have since abated.

    The New York system is great. Even better is that premiums for individual policies have plunged while premiums for group policies are increasing at the slowest rate in a decade.

    The only reason that people have to suffer through the complexities of the federal system is because they live in states that refused to set up their own exchanges.

    We live in a democracy; you get the government you deserve. If you live in a state that has stupidly refused to implement its own exchange; look around. It’s you and your fellow citizens getting what you deserve.

    Here in New York, we are grinning ear to eat.

    • mgoodfel

      I think the states were right to refuse. There’s nothing in Obamacare for them. If things go wrong, they will be blamed. If things go right, it’s due to Obama.

      And when the feds start pushing additional mandates and regulations without supplying the money to implement them, it’s the state budgets that take a hit.

      That’s why so many turned down the Medicaid expansion as well. Medicaid is already a huge hole in their budgets, and the expansion would only make it worse.

  • Boritz

    The software, even at inception, is the best thing about ACA.

  • mgoodfel

    I hope they also release the number of people in each type of plan. The California Bronze plans offered to me are nearly worthless. $5000 deductibles. $70 office visit, $300 ER visit, and you need to pay 1/3 of tests. I don’t remember if there’s any drug coverage. And it was still nearly $500 a month without the subsidy.

    That’s not going to look like a good deal to anyone. For someone at the low end of the income scale, that’s health insurance in name only.

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