Obama Administration Dramatically Scales Back Expectations for Second Year Obamacare Enrollment



The Obama administration now says it expects the second year of Obamacare to see dramatically fewer enrollments than originally projected, and that hitting its long-term enrollment goals will likely take years longer than initially believed. 

By next year, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated last April, enrollment in private health plans under Obamacare would increase from its current level to 13 million people, up from its current level of 7.1 million (a number that has fallen from the 8 million or so the administration said had signed up in April.) 

But the Obama administration has consistently declined to endorse this second-year projection as a target for the health law's second open enrollment period—a telling refusal given that the CBO's first year enrollment projection was a key metric in assessing the first year's outcomes. 

But the administration announced today that it now expects the figure to rise to somewhere between 9 and 9.9 million. So instead of adding almost 6 million people to the coverage rolls, it will add fewer than 3 million. That's a reduction of at least 50 percent, using the administration's current 7.1 million enrollment baseline (the CBO had projected that enrollment would rise from a starting point of 6 million). 

In addition, administration officials said that they believed enrollment would likely not hit the CBO's ultimate projection of 25 million private plan enrollments—essentially full enrollment—until 2019 or 2020, three years later than the CBO projected. 

This is a fairly significant rollback of expectations for Obamacare, and while it might be a way of lowering the bar so that an underperformance looks like a relative success, it suggests that the administration is anxious about enrollment trends for year two. The second year of enrollment was always going to be somewhat more difficult, because the people most motivated to purchase plans through Obamacare's exchanges were likely to have bought in year one. The task of year two would be to motivate even more people, those who weren't already interested in purchasing coverage through the exchanges.

What this announcement indicates, then, is that the administration thinks it's going to have a hard time motivating many people to purchase plans, which is another way of saying fewer people than expected seem to want or believe they need insurance under the law. For whatever reason or reasons, the demand isn't there, and Obamacare is now expected to underperform as a result. 

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  1. For whatever reason or reasons, the demand isn't there, and Obamacare is now expected to underperform as a result.

    And here I thought they were creating that demand out of sheer will and IRS threat.

    1. We found out what is in it.

    2. The soft bigotry of low expectations.

    3. If you like your sign up projections, you can keep your sign up projections.

  2. Hmph, looks like we scaled back our expectations for alt-text, too.

  3. Jeebus, freaking wombats! I heard people talking about the outfit that Obama was wearing in China, but I just saw it! LMAO! He looks like a gay version of Chairman Mao! I can't stop fucking laughing...

    1. It's at the top of Drudge right now. It's funny and embarrassing. I wonder if he has a Little Red Book in there.

      1. I've just removed what little doubt I had about the guy being a narcissistic sociopath. He's completely off the rails bat shit crazy.

        1. To be fair, it's a presidential tradition.

          1. Is that Pooty-poo in the background looking like he's going to kick someone's head off?

            1. Wow, I didn't recognize Pooty with his shirt on.

          2. Is that the Grand Wizard Boosh in that photo?

            That's cool. American Presidents playing Halloween when visiting the Chinese.

            Boosh goes as Merlin the Wizard.

            Obama goes as Gay Chairman Mao.

            I wonder who POTUS White Squaw will be?

            1. Disney's Pocahontas. too easy.

          3. "Hey guys. Let's all pretend we're butterflies."

      2. I bet Shreeky already has that photo printed out and hung on his bedroom wall.

    2. Marshall Applewhite or Jim Jones? Please be a death cult leader and take your followers with you.

    3. Vee are holding zee world hostage for ONE MILLION DOLLARS!


    4. Holy Cow, either he or is handlers or all of them have lost their minds. I can't believe any political advisor would let the President out in public looking like that.

      It makes him look completely un American and thus further reinforces the perception that he is out of touch with the country. And American or not it looks ridiculous. He looks like a character from Star Trek TNG.

      Obama is very fortunate that the late night talk shows and SNL are terrified to make fun of him. If any other President dressed like this, they would have a field day.

    5. Worst Star Trek reboot ever.

  4. Six million? Did we say six million? No, we meant three. Three million!

    Three million? Where'd you get that from? No, no. It's always been our stance that we expect a total of about a million this year.

    A million? We'd love that, but that's never what we expected. No we always expected to add a full hundred thousand to the rolls!

    A hundred thousand?! No, we never said that! We always said the point of this year was to sign up my Uncle Charlie and the full cast of Glee!

    1. ..."and the full cast of Glee!"

      Well, except the ones with speaking parts. We never expected them to sign up.

  5. But the administration announced today that it now expects the figure to rise to somewhere between 9 and 9.9 million.

    call it 8.

  6. Wow. They held onto this until after the election and still got curb-stomped by the stupid party. Team Obama has managed to out-incompetent the GOP. Think about that. It's a breathtaking combination of corruption and stupidity.

    1. Yeah, but the ACA is still saving people 3000% on their health insurance coverage! Oh wait...

    2. And the "hold it until after the election" hits have only just started.

      1. A little gift for Hillary in 2016...defend this.

  7. Have the fines started hitting?

    1. April 2015.

    2. Interesting point though. If people don't sign up this year, they will get hit with this year's fine AFTER next years enrollment period is closed.

      I will bet money they open the enrollment period until march again.
      So plenty of people have a chance to see what their fines will be.

    3. Can the GOP Congress stop the fines?

      1. If Obama agrees.

        I seriously doubt anyone will have to pay a fine on their 2014 or 2015 tax return.

        1. Clown Hunter|11.10.14 @ 5:01PM|#
          "If Obama agrees."

          After the remaining D's chase him down with tar and feathers in hand, he'll agree.

  8. "The Obama administration now says it expects the second year of Obamacare to see dramatically fewer enrollments than originally projected, and that hitting its long-term enrollment goals will likely take years longer than initially believed."

    Obama also announced that he was sending 1,500 troops to Iraq just a couple of weeks after promising that he wouldn't put any troops on the ground to fight ISIS.

    Why do we keep paying attention to what Obama says? Does he even generate ratings like he used to anymore? I'd be interested to see his Nielsen ratings for prime time interviews over the course of his presidency.

    If he'd been a TV show, I bet he'd have been canceled by now. ...but we still keep listening to what he says--as if it matters. Lie after lie, year after year, and it's not that anybody believes anything he says anymore! Democrats don't even believe what he says.

    Obama is basically a troll, now. What he does might be important, but let's stop paying attention to what the troll says.


  9. They are purposely scaling back expectations so they can say it exceeded them later.

    I believe, IIRC, there were reports out earlier this year saying they were planning to do exactly this. It's a PR move.

    1. Good news comrades! The quota for razors has been met.

      1. The chocolate ration has increased!!

    2. No. It is a desperation move. You are assuming that they have any idea what the enrollment will be or think it might be a decent number. In reality, they have no idea beyond "its going to be horrible" and are scaling back their predictions as little as possible to put off the inevitable bad news.

      1. You say it's a desperation move like you're not completely sure it will work for them.

        The damage has been done. Aside from a few elected officials, everyone involved in Obamacare will either keep their jobs after 2 years or move on to highly paid consultancies.

        1. I don't think it will work. I just think they don't have any other choice. What are they going to do? Tell the truth?

      2. You say that as if they havn't publicly admitted that lowering expectations is a strtegy:


  10. Unreal. Doesn't this prove that the number of uninsured was nowhere near the crisis they mde it out to be? Or that the plans are so bad that the uninsured don't even want them?

    45 million uninsured and tehy are trying to call 7 million a success?

    1. This is what those 35 million green cards that were recently printed are for. If you don't have the numbers, import them!

  11. In other words, Obamacare is an enormous arse, and few people are willing to stuff themselves up its anus.

  12. OT: From IJ's FB page, "IF IN DOUBT?TAKE IT!" Behind Closed Doors, Government Officials Make Shocking Comments About Civil Forfeiture

    It's shocking how candid some of these statement trainings for police training can be about asset forfeiture.

    1. Yup. Still many, many people support cops.

      When are we going to hit the big tipping point when almost everybody turns on them?

    2. "people are not found innocent, they are found not guilty."

      Seriously, What. The. Fuck? Law no longer exists in any meaningful context.

  13. They should sign up all the dead folks who vote in Chicago. All the statistics with no risk of payouts.

  14. You reactionaries at Reason have gotten the headline all wrong. The correct headline should read:
    'Our Dear Leader Announces Successful Enrollment Drive! Predictions of enrollment have been raised to 9 million! All praise to Our Dear Leader's Wise Policy!'
    You need to adjust your thinking and your obsession with 'facts' and think about the effect of your antisocial propaganda on The Children. BTW the choco ration was also increased to 25 grams. Doubleplusgood!

  15. Further confirmation of the "Lillian Hellman Presidency":
    Every word is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'!

  16. The last time they analyzed medicaid it had actually had a slight decline in per person cost - so it all seems to be working. Higher costs mostly that leads to online 24/7 loans applyings depends on which state you live in. States that expanded medicaid are doing far better since the private insurance companies are no longer getting hit with the costs for the uninsured that hospitals pass along to them in higher charges for those with coverage.

  17. If not for medicare ( of which I am not enamored - $60 B in fraud) my insurance premiums would be $1,400/mo up from $749/mo. This is all I need to know about ACA. It sucks and Obama sucks. Sucky people lie.

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