A look inside the HHS’ ACA enrollment report reveals something that the media isn’t talking about. Demand for Obamacare is high. In other words, millions of people want Obamacare.
The Republican spin is that since 106,185 people selected a marketplace plan in the first month, it is proof that the American people don’t want Obamacare. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement, “While the Obama White House is sure to blame the poor enrollment numbers on the many unacceptable tech glitches that have frustrated Americans, I maintain that the larger reason ObamaCare has failed is because it was conceived based on a lie that Americans could keep their healthcare plans and has failed to address our number one healthcare problem in America: soaring costs. Reasons one million and one million and one why the federal government should not be running our healthcare.”
Besides the fact that Priebus lied when said that the ACA is government run healthcare, a look at the actual HHS report reveals the opposite to be true.
The report found that,
Based on available data, 846,184 completed applications were submitted to Marketplaces during the first month of the initial open enrollment period (10-1-13 to 11-2-13), including applications that were submitted to the SBMs and FFM. These completed applications correspond to a total of 1,509,883 million individuals (persons) who have applied for coverage through the Marketplaces during this time period. This represents 22 percent of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated 7 million Marketplace enrollment in 2014.
The available data on completed applications, eligibility determinations and assessments, and Marketplace plan selection represents a subset of the total number of Americans who have begun exploring the coverage options that are available through the new Marketplaces. There is considerable interest in the new Marketplaces as measured by unique visitors on the SBM and FFM websites (26,876,527), and calls to the SBM and FFM call centers (3,158,436). These early enrollment-related statistics suggest that, in spite of recent information system and website issues, inter est in the Marketplaces is high.
For example a Commonwealth Fund survey conducted Oct. 9-27 polled adults (ages 19-64) who are uninsured or have individual market coverage and found that most (60 percent) are aware of the Marketplace. Further, the Commonwealth Fund found that 53 percent are aware that financial support is available for Marketplace coverage and 17 percent have visited the Marketplace. Most (58 percent) said they are very likely or somewhat likely to go or go back to visit the Marketplace to enroll in a plan or to apply for the premium tax credit or for Medicaid/CHIP before the open enrollment period ends on March 31, 2014.
These numbers show that the Republican efforts to scare people away from signing up aren’t working. The enrollment numbers are down because of problems with the website, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t want access to affordable healthcare.
If the website would have been functioning properly, the big story today would have been about the high number of signups. What the interest level reveals is that the Republican pushed, and media embraced, doom and gloom is wrong.
Senate Democrats are threatening to cave to the political hysteria, and betray the president on the ACA. This would be a huge mistake. Democrats need to stay strong, because the interest is there. The law is going to work, and any weak kneed caving to panic could destroy the ACA.
Millions of Americans want access to affordable healthcare, but our political leaders have to have the courage to give it to them.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association