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7 million Obamacare enrollees? Try again

By Crissinda Ponder ·
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Posted: 4 pm ET

Remember back in May 2013 when the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 7 million Americans would sign up for 2014 coverage through the Affordable Care Act's online exchanges? That was before all those error messages that marked the fumbled rollout of

The agency now says the total number of Americans who will enroll in health insurance for 2014 through the Obamacare marketplaces will be 6 million, according to an updated estimate.

The CBO reduced its original projection by 1 million due to the "significant technical problems that have been encountered in the initial phases of implementing the (Affordable Care Act)," the nonpartisan agency said in its latest analysis.

About more than glitches

A problem-plagued website may not be the only culprit for the revised estimate, says Deborah Chollet, a health insurance research leader at Mathematica Policy Research in Washington, D.C.

"There's always that wild-card variable," she says. "It's not that fewer people have approached the marketplaces, it's just that when they do approach the marketplaces, we're finding there's a relatively high probability that they're Medicaid-eligible." In other words, they sign up for the health insurance program for the poor instead of an exchange plan.

The budget office also projects that the ACA will reduce the number of full-time employees in the U.S. workforce by approximately 2.3 million through the year 2021. That's because Obamacare's tax credits available to lower-income Americans increase as income decreases, which would encourage people to work less. The law's tax credit subsidies lower the cost of insurance purchased through the exchanges.

The GOP pounces

Republicans took the CBO report as an opportunity to drive their argument home that President Barack Obama's signature health reform law is damaging the economy.

"For years, Republicans have said that the president's health care law creates uncertainty for small businesses, hurts take-home pay, and makes it harder to invest in new workers. The middle class is getting squeezed in this economy, and this CBO report confirms that Obamacare is making it worse," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says in a statement.

The White House issued a statement Tuesday asserting that the CBO report doesn't take into account several ways Obamacare positively impacts the economy, such as by slowing the growth of health care costs and improving workers' access to health care.

"(The) CBO's findings are not driven by an assumption that ACA will lead employers to eliminate jobs or reduce hours," says Jay Carney, White House press secretary.

Last-minute enrollment blitz likely

Obamacare's March 31 deadline to purchase health insurance is just shy of two months away, and a sign-up surge on the exchanges is expected as the big day nears, Chollet says.

" is working quite well," she says. "Some of the states that have had problems are finally getting things to work … and they appear to be enrolling significant numbers of people."

Total exchange enrollment is projected to reach 13 million in 2015 and 22 million in 2016, according to the CBO.

What are your thoughts on the new projections for Obamacare?

Follow me on Twitter @CrissiPonder.

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harrel ski
April 02, 2014 at 12:33 am

Obama-care is a bod joke and most tax payers will pay for others. do not tell me to be my bothers keeper. tell then to get a job and stop having babies.

April 01, 2014 at 11:47 pm

M - what planet are you from?

Joe From Hell
April 01, 2014 at 10:29 pm


Joe From Hell
April 01, 2014 at 10:28 pm

7 million ...? APRIL FOOLS!

April 01, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Not arguing for or against ACA, but thought I'd throw out a fact check. There are not 3 billion people in this country. Not quite... its a little over 300 million.

April 01, 2014 at 6:07 pm

I don't get it, just read a story that the prez is all happy about 7.1 million people signing AFA.
In a country with 3 billion people, that's nothing to be happy about. sheeesh

April 01, 2014 at 5:03 pm

I told my wife yesterday, that, just like everything BHO has done there would be figures released that Obamacare had made fantastic progress at the last minute! I find it interesting that the enrollments had jumped up yesterday. Didn't the site crash yesterday, making it unusable? Before votes or deadlines (Obamacare, elections, etc.)the White house tells us that we can keep our doctors,the recession is over, unemployment is way down,etc. Later all "FACTS" are proven to be false!!!!

March 21, 2014 at 7:49 pm

In any case, I call Obama care and anything he has done [which has intrinsically harming the nation] a form of electoral sedition.

As for enrollment rates in Obamacare, I am of the opinion that the next election will determine the long term outcome of any enrollment rates.

March 21, 2014 at 7:43 pm

A simple truth in point- of any nation does not have decent health care- [Obama-care is a tragic joke as some people that lost their Chemo and other critical care have already died], the people will be less healthy, with higher rates of mortality; both in adults in with regards to infants.

Any nation that does not have good health care, is a poor one.

As for banking- of the populace does not have good health, then how can banks expect to profit when people are too unhealthy to contribute to the economy?

Think about it

March 21, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Obama's non-existent, shadow health care, his personal obsession with listening to phone calls, and his grab to disarm Americans so that any despot that takes power [The second one sits in the Oval office presently] can abuse, or so whatever they want to anyone.

Exactly what the Second Amendment was for-to prevent such despots from becoming King.

As far as this administration goes- if one dares to call it that

Can anyone say treason?