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7 million Obamacare enrollees? Try again

By Crissinda Ponder · Bankrate.com
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 HealthCare.gov.

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.

"HealthCare.gov 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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76 Comments
Glenn Koons
April 07, 2014 at 11:23 pm

I suggest that the gutless Pubs in the House Leadership publish real stats from latest sources on paid ins, how many, old policies lost, Medicare stop gaps, and use the facts in ads to stop the lies of the Obamaites. My guess is, the Pubs will try to FIX the horror instead of getting rid of it. Sad leadership.

FBC4
April 07, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Well before Obama care, I had a great health plan with Blue shield with a low deductable and great coverage. It got cancelled and now I have a Bronze policy with triple the deductable and less coverage and my rates went up over $190 a month. Thanks for helping me out.

Maury George
April 07, 2014 at 11:31 am

This bill was not about health care, it was about control through the establishment of a socialist program. There where much easier ways to increase health care by way of our capitalistic system and the cost would have gone down.

Rob
April 07, 2014 at 10:30 am

This is the perfect example of the White House creating facts that they would like to be true. They give you numbers that no else can see and if you ask a question that doesn't support their story they tell you we don't have those numbers. Well let me tell you I worked in Govt. and they have all the numbers they want. If the President doesn't have or can't get a number who else could. He has the entire Federal Govt. working for him. In the past he would just go on TV and lie, tell you anything he wanted, but now he just says we don't have those numbers. I guess he realizes that we are not as stupid as he thought and he got caught in so many lies.

Brian S
April 06, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Let's see...BC/BS had operating expenses of 6%. That means 94% of all premiums were paid out in claims. The Obumbo Govt's take?....18%. 82% paid out! This whole ACA was nothing but a 'money grab'! There are some of those Medical Offices who have chosen not to participate by not doing EMRs. The Govt's response?? 3.5% fine/penalty for every patient that walks through the office door! Again, all about the money! This ACA is nothing but a huge money scam!

usakindatheart
April 06, 2014 at 2:10 pm

I live in a state that does not have adult medicaid and you have to be 65 to get medicare. If I did live in a state that allowed it, I would qualify. So I looked at the plans on obamacare and with the little money I make there is no way I can pay 279 dollars a month and pay a deductible of 5000 before any benefits are deducted from my bill. I still have to pay full pay at a drs. office which is what I do already (I have to be about dead to see a dr, before I can pay the 120 M.D. dr visit) anyways.. I see that there is no way I can afford this.. The laughable part is that I thought maybe I was doing something wrong on the obamacare site, so I did the "chat" thing, and the person directed me to the catastrophic care section which was 99 dollars a month and only paid if I had an emergency big hospital bill.. even then my deductible was over 10,000 before the insurance paid anything. I think the only people who is making money off this is the insurance people..

David McBurney
April 05, 2014 at 7:49 am

If you voted for Obama you have no right to complain! Hope you have learned you lesson!

Scott Norris
April 04, 2014 at 11:07 pm

The original stated goal of Obamacare was to provide health care to 40 million Americans that didn't have any.

Their goal was 7 million.

And since then you can't keep your doctor. You can't keep your health insurance plan. Your premiums are going up. Your deductible is going up. Your choices are now limited to 4 plans. If you are a 62 year old single man you have to carry maternity insurance.

6.2 million people LOST their health insurance. An estimated 20-25% of the 7 million haven't made a premium payment. 80% of the 7 million are receiving subsidies. An estimated 1.5 million of the 7 million were just doing their annual renewal of Medicare. Thousands of prison inmates are enrolled in Obamacare. Potentially hundreds of Obamacare "Navigators" were previous tenants at aforementioned prisons.

So at best, for the hundreds of billions of dollars already wasted we've got a scenario where at best a net 800,000 people more have health insurance now than did at this time last year? The IRS is in charge of enforcing Obamacare. GE (The GE CEO Immelt is Obama's Jobs Czar) is in charge of the collection, storage and security of medical data.

Is something terribly wrong with this picture?

RoyalPayne
April 04, 2014 at 2:40 pm

My husband just had a physical thru the VA this morning. He ask the new doctor his opinion on Obama care. He was told that he had to close his practice after 30 years, he couldn't keep up with the regulations. The Hospital he was affiliated with has, since January, lost 2 heart surgeons, 2 pediatric specialists, and 8 GPs. He said 2013 was a war on doctors, 2014 is, and will be, the war on patients. He also said in 10 years you will be lucky to be able to see a doctor. This from someone in the field. Scary.

J Bell
April 03, 2014 at 10:44 pm

I'm surprised they aren't claiming 8 million signups. The WH has access to the numbers but HHS secretary Sebelius has no clue who has signed up or who has paid there premium. Doesn't seem to matter only press releases count

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