President Barack Obama announced Thursday that eight million people have selected a private health insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act. "This thing is working," he said of the law during an announcement during a statement in the White House briefing room. The president also said that 35 percent of people who enrolled through the federal marketplace are under the age of 35.
Just five weeks ago, the Associated Press ran an article on the pace of Affordable Care Act enrollments. The White House, the piece said, "needs something close to a miracle to meet its goal of enrolling 6 million people by the end of this month." Congressional Republicans eagerly passed the AP's item around.
As of April 1, we already knew that miracle had arrived: the initial estimate pointed to 7.1 million Americans enrolling through exchange marketplaces. By last week, that total was revised to 7.5 million.
Today, there's a new number: 8 million consumers signed up for private coverage through exchanges.
As the president want on to explain at a press conference this afternoon, that's 8 million enrolled through exchanges, another 3 million young adults who've gained coverage through family plans, and another 3 million who've taken advantage of Medicaid expansion.
That's 14 million American consumers -- a number that would be more than 19 million if several Republican officials weren't deliberately blocking Medicaid expansion out of political spite.
Before new conspiracy theories sprout, I should note that these upward revisions do not come as a surprise.
The 7.1 million figure didn't include several state exchange marketplaces, for example, which have since produced updated tallies. California's enrollment totals far exceeded expectations, and given the Golden State's size, it boosted the national totals.
What's more, let's also not forget that consumers who tried to enroll by the March 31 deadline but ran into trouble had extra time to complete the application process. In fact, they had until April 15, just two days ago, to finish what they'd started, and thousands of Americans did just that.
As we discussed not too long ago, it's easy to forget that all of this seemed like a pipe dream last fall. In October, the first month of the open-enrollment period, just 106,185 consumers signed up for insurance through an exchange -- causing Republicans to not only celebrate, but to openly mock the system by noting a variety of sports venues that hold more than 106,185 attendees.
It was obviously proof, we were told at the time, that the Affordable Care Act itself was "hurtling toward failure."
Hmm. Who's laughing now?
Finally, I also thought I'd put together another little chart, in case Fox News wants to use it.