It seems like ages ago, but it was early November when the first figures on Affordable Care Act enrollment were released – and they weren’t good. In October, the first month of the open-enrollment period, just 106,185 consumers signed up for health insurance through an exchange, far short of projections, and enough to cause Republicans to point, laugh, and mock, noting a variety of sports venues that hold more than 106,185 attendees.
Seven weeks later, conservatives no longer appear to be smiling.
We talked yesterday about December’s preliminary enrollment numbers: 1.1 million consumers who signed up for health care coverage through the federal exchange marketplace. But that total didn’t include state-based exchanges or Medicaid coverage. Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Marilyn Tavenner released some additional details.
The most recent data indicate that more than 2.1 million people have enrolled in a private health insurance plan through the Federal and State-based Marketplaces since October 1. […]Additionally, 3.9 million Americans learned they’re eligible for coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in October and November. These numbers include new eligibility determinations and some Medicaid and CHIP renewals.We are encouraged that over 6 million people have been enrolled in Marketplace or Medicaid coverage since October 1, and will work to give millions more Americans the peace of mind that comes with health security in the months ahead.
That’s 6 million U.S. consumers in three months, and for two of those months, as you may have heard once or twice, healthcare.gov wasn’t working especially well.
I have a strong hunch we won’t see a bunch of tweets from GOP lawmakers this afternoon, highlighting stadiums with 6 million seats.
What’s more, these totals don’t include Americans who gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s policy that allows young adults to stay on their family’s plan until they turn 26.
In terms of the policy implications, enrollment totals at these levels reinforce the sustainability of the exchange marketplaces. In terms of the political implications, if Republicans think they can spend the next 10 months vowing to take health care benefits away from these millions of consumers, they may want to check with their pollsters about the viability of their message.
Oh, and the right-wing campaign intended to convince the uninsured to stay that way on purpose, just to satisfy the wishes of wealthy conservatives with an ideological axe to grind? Yeah, that doesn’t appear to be working, either.