White House Says It Hit 7.04 Million Obamacare Sign-ups: Oh Really?

Health insurance reform was pushed because tens of millions were uninsured


What happened today, April 1, 2014

The White House announced 7.04 million people signed up for insurance through Obamacare, with the president to speak in the Rose Garden at 4:15p.m. Fox News previously reported:

Seven million was the original target set by the Congressional Budget Office for enrollment in taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance through new online markets created under Obama's signature legislation.

That was scaled back to 6 million after the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov last fall. Several state-run websites also had crippling problems. Time will tell how many of the 7 million or so pay their premiums.  So they've hit 7 million sign-ups, kinda.


Reason's own Peter Suderman reviews why any number coming from the administration is bound to be inexact:

The problem, as always, is that the administration's sign-up totals don't give us a firm hold on how many people have actually enrolled, because many of the people who are counted as signing up have only selected a plan using the online system; not everyone who has selected a plan has gone on to pay the first month's premium. Nor do the administration's numbers give us any sense of how many people who end up paid and covered stay that way in subsequent months.

Right now, however, our understanding of how many people who have selected a plan and then completed the enrollment process is somewhat weak. Multiple reports from January and February suggest that about 20 percent of sign-ups never submit a payment and don't end up covered.

But that's a rough approximation based on early reporting from a handful of insurers. It's not systematic. We don't know if payment rates have increased or decreased over the last month, or if people who select a plan in the final surge are more or less likely to make a payment. We don't have hard data from every insurer or state. Mostly, what we've got are solid but scattered news reports relying largely on insurance industry insiders. Reason on all things Obamacare here.

At The Washington Post, Marc Thiessen explains why 6 (or 7) million sign-ups is still a failure:

The number that matters is not how many Americans signed up for Obamacare but rather how many previously uninsured Americans signed up for Obamacare. By that standard, Obamacare may be headed for an epic failure.

Recall that between 5 million and 6 million Americans lost their health plans because of Obamacare last fall. If the administration now succeeds in signing up 5 million to 6 million previously insured Americans, it will have achieved .?.?. nothing. Breaking even is no great accomplishment. Meanwhile, Slate explains why a larger number, 9.5 million, could apply:

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday evening that "at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gotten health insurance since Obamacare started," according to national surveys and reports on enrollment data. To be clear, that figure isn't just counting people who have signed up through the exchanges on healthcare.gov—rather, it's a total of the previously uninsured people who have acquired coverage through the marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, through private insurance, or through state-by-state expansions of Medicaid. Obamacare advocates and pushers pointed to the tens of millions of Americans who were uninsured as the raison d'etre for passing health insurance reform. How many of the Obamacare sign-ups came from those tens of millions remains to be seen. For those who remain uninsured, the biggest change under Obamacare is that now they'll be fined for not having insurance. 

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  1. Oh, the government tells us it’s true so it must be! By the way, these are “sign ups”. In other words people who just created an account on the website. These aren’t people who have been insured.

    So really, it’s a complete joke, AND the website was down today too. 8 friends and I built a better website for my high school in half the time.

    Health insurance should be like car insurance and should kick in when there are major problems. Can you imagine what an oil change would cost if it was covered under your auto insurance? You don’t bill your car insurance for oil changes or little scratches in your car’s paint job.

    Also – unlike the gov website, auto insurance sites actually work! I can go get auto insurance quote for $25/month from a site like Insurance Panda. With healthcare dot gov, it takes me hours to get an unaffordable BS rate. Who can afford $600/month insurance?

    That said, It’s laughable that they are struggling to sign people for up for a govt mandated program – even under threat of penalty. Good job Obama – you’re a leader alright.

    1. By the way, these are “sign ups”. In other words people who just created an account on the website.

      Any idea to what extent this is true? Or how thoroughly are these people vetted (I’m pretty sure I already know the answer)?

      So really, it’s a complete joke, AND the website was down today too. 8 friends and I built a better website for my high school in half the time.

      I was just thinking the other day that if I’m some IT worker affiliated with a healthcare provider or insurer and the healthcare.gov servers are crappy, I might set up a script to toy around with the website every so often and let me know how responsive it is. Actually creating an account would be pretty drastic, but is there any notion that a portion of these people might be inaccurately enrolled, virtually generated, or even fraudulently (not on the part of the administration) enrolled?

  2. Wonder if the real numbers will ever come out. They are doing EVERYTHING to disarm the opponent’s 2014 midterm arsenal.

  3. Increased welfare enrollment…..that’s a victory, right?

    1. yes, we’re in obama’s bizzarro america where food stamps help the economy.

  4. In other news: inflation is 1.1%, unemployment is down to 6.7%, and GDP is 2.6%. 7 million signups under ObamaCare seems like the smallest lie right now.

  5. Can anyone point me to a place where we can estimate or compare to see how many Medicaid enrollments can be attributed to ACA? There are new Medicaid enrollment wasn’t invented by the ACA, and Counting every Medicaid enrollment as a newly insured person because of the ACA is disingenuous as hell, and I would like some numbers to throw back at the propagandists.

    BTW, was looking for a place with numbers, the Wikipedia page covers the Oregon study. It mentions that self-reported health was improved. The Wikipedia article fails to mention that actual health outcomes did not improve. Weird, huh?

    1. *Wikipedia page for Medicaid

  6. Come on Reason, show some class and accept your defeat gracefully. Your continued efforts to find fault in every shadow of the ACA are getting embarrassing.

    1. Excuse me, is there some aspect of the ACA of which you approve? What might that be?

    2. Hey, Santo: It doesn’t take much effort to find fault with a law that essentially turns every citizen into a serf who lives only by permission of the State.

  7. Looks like fewer than 900,000 people signed up and paid premiums under ACA.

  8. I remember when the other original goals were to bend the cost curve down and not add a dime to the deficit.

  9. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail
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