The Department of Health and Human Services broke the news on Monday that 5 million people have now signed up for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act. With 14 days left in the open enrollment period, it appears that the final numbers will come close to or even reach the initial Congressional Budget Office estimates of 7 million people signing up in the first year. While the CBO has since amended that number down to 6 million, don’t be surprised if this final push gets it well above that.
Below is the press release from the website of the HHS:
As this historic open enrollment period enters its final weeks, millions of Americans are finding quality, affordable coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Fernando Valdez and Denise Schroeder were part of a weekend wave of consumers signing up for new coverage and bringing enrollment nationwide to more than 5 million through the Federal and State-based Marketplaces since October 1st.
Fernando Valdez, 25, of El Paso, Texas woke up early on Saturday, after his mother insisted that he walk to an enrollment center and enroll in Marketplace coverage. Now, he will pay $22 a month for his health insurance. Fernando said that he walked away knowing that if “I get into an accident I will not be in trouble with trying to find health care.” Read more about Fernando’s story at: http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_25353816/enroll-el-paso-makes-push-get-residents-enrolled?IADID=Search-www.elpasotimes.com-www.elpasotimes.com.
And Denise Schroeder says she now feels like “I have a whole new life” after enrolling in coverage in recent days. Denise, a small business owner in West Chester, Pennsylvania who runs “Happy Heart Clown N’Stuff” which does balloon decorating and entertainment for parties is also a cancer survivor. Because she had cancer, Denise knew she couldn’t let her health coverage lapse, but the $880 premium she was paying each month wiped out her savings account, and she said it was killing her. But after working with an enrollment navigator, she enrolled on Thursday in a Silver Plan for $22 a month. When she saw the new premium, she cried.
You can find more stories like theirs at http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/mystory/index.html.
Consumers like Fernando and Denise are coming every day to check out their options for affordable health care at HealthCare.gov or seeking help from a trained representative in person or via our 24/7 call center. The last several days have been the busiest since December, with the Call Center taking more than 198,000 calls on Thursday alone -the busiest day since December 23—and more than 130,000 calls over the weekend. Last week, HealthCare.gov saw more than 4 million visits—and an additional 1 million visits this weekend.
With only two weeks to go, we’re continuing to work hard to ensure that every American who wants to enroll in affordable coverage by the deadline of March 31st is able to do so. So don’t delay; tell your friends and family to sign up today.
Three weeks ago, ACA enrollment passed 4 million. Since then, we’ve seen another million sign up. No matter how much Republicans try to deny it, the ACA is going to be a rousing success in in its first year. Conservative pundits had a field day laughing at the ‘paltry’ enrollment numbers in October, apparently unaware that fewer people sign up at the beginning of an enrollment period than at the end. The message a few months ago was how there was NO WAY that millions of people would sign up for Obamacare. Conservatives kept bringing up that 7 million figure from the CBO and pointing out how much lower the final enrollment figure would be.
For months, the narrative, repeated over and over by the mainstream media, was about the ‘botched’ rollout of the ACA and the ‘disastrous’ Healthcare.gov website. While news anchors and pundits were repeating the same talking points day in and day out, whatever glitches that were hounding the website were found and fixed, and people in need of affordable health care continued to sign up.
Now here we are, two weeks away from the final deadline of this enrollment period, and we now see 5 million people have signed up. 5 million people have obtained quality healthcare because of this law. All despite the numerous roadblocks thrown up by Republican lawmakers trying their hardest to make the law fail before it even had a chance to be enacted. How many more would have had a chance to sign up already if the majority of states would have set up their own healthcare exchanges? If Red state governors would have allowed Medicaid expansion to take place, as provided for by the ACA, how many more people would have health coverage right now?
That’s the thing. Even with the petulant obstruction, 5 million people have signed up for healthcare under the ACA, and in the years to come, tens of millions more will. It is the law of the land. It is here to stay.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).