More than 8 million people signed up for coverage via the federal HealthCare.gov health insurance exchange marketplace as of Saturday, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said Tuesday. On Friday, President Barack Obama announced that enrollment had reached 6 million after this month's deadline for policies that will be in force on New Year's Day. Burwell's revised tally, delivered during a conference call with enrollment workers, includes millions of people whose current plans have been automatically renewed. The final deadline for obtaining 2016 coverage is Jan. 31.
The Obama administration's Department of Health and Human Services had modest expectations for this year's Affordable Care Act enrollment totals. It made yesterday's news that much more encouraging: "Obamacare" sign-ups aren't just strong this year, they're also exceeding projections and last year's tallies. The Huffington Post reported:
In a conference call with reporters, Burwell explained, "Today, we have more sign-ups, more new enrollees and a younger population than we did last year."
That last point is of particular interest. A CNBC report emphasized the fact that, as of last week, roughly 2.1 million people under the age of 35 had enrolled through the federal exchange marketplace, a significant increase over last year's total. Because younger people tend to be healthier, the increase appears likely to "greatly help strengthen the financial health of insurance plans in Obamacare's third enrollment season."
What's more, note that all of these figures relate to enrollment through Healthcare.gov, and don't include the states -- including large-population states like California and New York -- which created their own exchange marketplaces and have not yet announced their state-based sign-ups.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" over the weekend, and when asked about the ACA, the Republican leader declared, "It's a law that is not working."
And yet, the evidence to the contrary is hard to miss.