Mission almost accomplished-ish: White House says ObamaCare has reached six million sign-ups

posted at 3:21 pm on March 27, 2014 by Allahpundit

So that’s why they decided to extend the enrollment deadline past March 31st for people who are already “waiting in line” or whatever. Megan McArdle was wondering about that yesterday: Why, having hit five million enrollments just 10 days ago and with the website working reasonably well, would the White House suddenly feel obliged to give people even more time? What do they gain from it? I think this is the answer. They’re now within striking distance of hitting their original target of seven million for the first year, averaging fully 100,000 new sign-ups per day over the last 10 days as the deadline approaches. (They’re at 1.8 million for this month alone.) That number is meaningless on its own terms but it’s a juicy talking point for Senate Democrats who are desperate for good news about the law to mention when they’re challenged on it by voters. “We promised you seven million and we made it. The law’s a success. America loves ObamaCare.

As this historic open enrollment period enters its final days, more than 6 million Americans have signed up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces since October 1, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Those looking to get covered before the March 31st deadline still have time by visiting HealthCare.gov or by phone at 1-800-318-2596/TTY 1-855-889-4325. You can also find help in your community at localhelp.healthcare.gov…

A nonprofit worker from New Jersey, a theater artist from Chicago, IL, and an opera singer from Austin, TX are all among the millions of Americans now enjoying the peace of mind and security that comes with quality, affordable health coverage. You can find their stories and more here on HHS.gov.

Consumers like these are coming in near record numbers to check out their options for affordable health coverage at HealthCare.gov or seeking help from a trained assister in person or via our 24/7 call center. We are seeing near record numbers of consumers coming to check out their options and enroll in coverage. Yesterday alone, we had 1.5 million visits to HealthCare.gov and took more than 430,000 calls at our 24/7 call center.

Sebelius pops the social-media champagne:

Meanwhile, back in reality, not even reliably lefty outfits like HuffPo can paper over the problems with how HHS is counting “sign-ups”:

The number does not distinguish between individuals who have chosen a health care plan and have paid their first month’s premium, and those who have not — which has been estimated to be around 20 percent of those who have signed up.

The numbers also don’t include individuals who have enrolled in Medicaid, which was expanded in many states to individuals who earn up to 133 percent of the poverty level. They also don’t count those who have purchased insurance directly from a private insurance company but will be included in the overall risk pool.

Right. They also don’t specify how many of these six million were uninsured before and how many are simply replacing coverage that ObamaCare forced their old insurer to cancel. Nor do they specify the crucially important demographic mix of enrollees. How many of the six million are “young invincibles” and how many have preexisting conditions? McArdle’s theory yesterday about why HHS extended the deadline for a few more weeks is that they know they don’t have enough young adults to keep premiums as low as they want them to be and so they’re holding the door open in hopes of squeezing a few more through. That’s also why the White House is now posting ObamaCare-related GIFs on, er, BuzzFeed.

Likewise, as far as I know, the new numbers do include people who’ve placed a plan in their virtual shopping cart on Healthcare.gov but who haven’t pulled the trigger and actually purchased it. That policy dates back to last year, when the White House was desperate for good news about enrollments so they decided to treat “sign-ups” as people who’ve reached merely the next to last stage of the purchase process. All of which means that not only might this large risk pool nonetheless be toxically skewed towards people in comparatively poor health, but the numbers that HHS is handing out here almost certainly overstate the actual number of enrollees by hundreds of thousands (or even a million or more) people. Show of hands: If all of the withheld data was actually good news for the White House — a healthy risk pool, 99+ percent payment, few bogus “shopping cart” sign-ups — who thinks Sebelius wouldn’t be extremely eager to let you know that?

Jay Carney’s going to spend his afternoon sneering at the law’s critics. I suggest you use your time to read this Bob Laszewski post about the very real risk of double-digit premium hikes to many exchange plans next year, which will mean night-night for ObamaCare.

Update: Yep, this would count under the “shopping cart” policy:


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Obamacare: Fifteen percent of Covered California enrollees haven’t paid
By Tracy Seipel

Hey Cali! You’re probably a little ahead of most Congrats! Dems win dems win!!!

CW on March 27, 2014 at 7:11 PM

What great news for the country. Millions more now insured….

everdiso on March 27, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Lie.

CW on March 27, 2014 at 7:13 PM

Instead of asking whether the extension was a joke, elected Republican leaders should have been out en masse pointing out everything wrong with these statistics.

Instead they just sort of wave them through, as if they didn’t want to get in the way of the lie of 7 million….

and Ryan’s off offering nothing new on poverty….Cantor and McCarthy are hidden from view…sham votes in the House that Boehner approves of…from a distance…

How hard is it to learn the lesson of the Clinton war room, of the summer of Cindy Sheehan?

You don’t let any lie, half truth, distortion go unremarked. You pound away at them…you get up on the floor of the U.S. Senate and call Reid, Pelosi, Sebelius and that fool in the WH “liars” and then you present the facts…

no idea of how to fight these guys…

EastofEden on March 27, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Well, she was smart enough to get a new account during open registration. I smell previously banned troll.

CurtZHP on March 27, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Ref; everdiso. My guess it’s narutoboy.

I believe it’s against TOS for banned commenters to be able to create new usernames and post.

HumpBot Salvation on March 27, 2014 at 7:30 PM

EVEN if Obamacare worked perfectly…there still would be 30,000,000 uninsured.

CW on March 27, 2014 at 7:10 PM

This.

No sane person could believe cutting the uninsured rate from 15% to 10% is worth all this.

Chuck Schick on March 27, 2014 at 7:45 PM

I’m disappointed in the Democrats here. If you’re going to lie about what your goal was, lie big! Lie big just like you did about health care costs, keeping doctors, keeping plans, lower premiums, and everyone else.

Try 5 million, 4 million. 6 is weak.

drewwerd on March 27, 2014 at 7:46 PM

EVEN if Obamacare worked perfectly…there still would be 30,000,000 uninsured.

CW on March 27, 2014 at 7:10 PM

This.

No sane person could believe cutting the uninsured rate from 15% to 10% is worth all this.

Chuck Schick on March 27, 2014 at 7:45 PM

We overhauled U.S. health care — to insure 4.2 million people?

slickwillie2001 on March 27, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Don’t forget, even if we took them at their *cough*word, they are still only talking about the first month’s premium. At the very very very best case scenerio, those payments are bound to drop off with each passing month. And when many unsuspecting people actually get sick or injured enough to need a doctor or an ER, and they find out what a “deductible” and a “co-pay” means, many will say Eff this, what am I paying my premiums for?

ncinca on March 27, 2014 at 8:24 PM

We overhauled U.S. health care — to insure 4.2 million people?

slickwillie2001 on March 27, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Worse- re-insure them

Chuck Schick on March 27, 2014 at 9:03 PM

What an historically amazing success story this is turning out to be. Congrats, Obama!

everdiso on March 27, 2014 at 5:03 PM

My Goodness. Are you a United States citizen everdiso? If yes. Are you covered under 0Care?

Bmore on March 27, 2014 at 11:21 PM

If you believe that 6 million number, you’ll believe they all got to keep their doctors.

sadatoni on March 28, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Just the anecdotal evidence that I can see for myself indicates that those that didn’t have insurance still don’t have insurance.

claudius on March 28, 2014 at 8:40 AM

How many signed up from Mexican consulates?

dogsoldier on March 28, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Hey Everdisco,,, even if the 6 million is true people like me who just lost their insurance now have to pay higher premiums. I went from zero deductible and now its 6000. My premium went up from near zero to 500 dollars. Yeah this is a great system. Some have had enrolled in this obama care and went to the hospital and they end up paying a big bill because Obama care said they was a glitch in the program. Hell with this.

garydt on March 28, 2014 at 8:57 AM

So, they are not talking about 6 million policies, they are talking about 6 million individuals, including children? Talk about watered down numbers!

astonerii on March 28, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Mission almost accomplished-ish: White House says ObamaCare has reached six million sign-ups

Were they counting all 57 states?

Tsar of Earth on March 28, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Boehner and Cantor: But, but- we’ve passed repeal like three times and done other “stuff” and we are trying to ride this through the election…

/feckless stupidity.

Marcus Traianus on March 28, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Have any of these gleeful enrollees googled the definition of Deductible yet?

Tsar of Earth on March 28, 2014 at 9:37 AM

What a bunch of phony, lying, deceitful thugs.

rplat on March 28, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Obamacare will NOT cost a dime.
Obamacare will REDUCE the deficit.
Obamacare will pay for itself.
Obamacare will reduce the cost of health care.
Obamacare will NOT cause anyone to lose their jobs.
Obamacare will NOT cause companies to drop their employees’ insurance.
Obamacare will NOY cause people to lose their health care plans.
If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.
If you like your plan you can keep your plan…PERIOD.
Everyone claiming hardship regardng Obamacare are LYING.

You are only counted as having enrolled in Obamacare if you pay your premiums.

No, if you enroll on the site you are counted as having signed up for Obamacare.

We do not know how many people have signed up – we did not build the web site to track that.

We do not know how many people have paid their premiums – we did not build the web site to track that.

We have not reached anywhere near the number of people required to sign up for Obamacare just to sustain it because Americans are too stupid to work the internet.

(24hrs later….)

Victory – We have reached 6 Million Americans signed up for Obamacare!

————————-

The WH is now counting every person who declares they intend to buy Obamacare on the web site as being enrolled. They are doing so because they are desperate to reach the ‘magic number’ so they can declare that people DO like Obamcare after all. 1) Even if they have to ‘cook the books’ (like ‘number of jobs saved/creaded thanks to the Stimulus Bil) to get there they will. 2) Even if they did/do get their because 6 million people actually did/do sign up it is NOT because they ‘like’ Obamacare – it is because MORE than 6 million people who HAD insurance lost it and have to replace it…and the only thing to replace it with is Obamacare.

** 20% of those signed up reportedly have not paid their premiums…that means if they are touting 6 million enrolled that means less than 5 million have not paid their premiums.

** Since the government is NOT going to punitively tax anyone intending to enroll (signing up but not paying premiums) or anyone who say they tried but had problems with the site I wouldn’t be surprised if every American (if they are smart) click as if they were going to enroll or say they couldn’t on line but NEVER pay their premiums JUT TO AVOID THE TAX.

easyt65 on March 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM

How many of the six million are “young invincibles” and how many have preexisting conditions?

Well. At least we got a good metric from this exercise:

Six-million Americans have preexisting conditions.

Tsar of Earth on March 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM

The democrats can now safely run on Obamacare this fall…

PatriotRider on March 27, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Well of course, they should :)

Tsar of Earth on March 28, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Just wait until these ‘signees’ actually try to use their wonderful new healthplans with their $10,000 deductibles.

olesparkie on March 28, 2014 at 9:47 AM

I thot when they started this disaster back in 2009 that there were over 40,000,000 uninsured? And that was the whole reason for this O’Crap.

bluefox on March 28, 2014 at 9:54 AM

When the insurers finally release their insurance rates for 2015 showing huge rate increases due to much smaller than expected risk pools, I am guessing St Barry will have some ‘splainin to do…

rmkdbq on March 28, 2014 at 10:03 AM

rmkdbq on March 28, 2014 at 10:03 AM

What surprised me is that all of these Health Care Insurance Companies assisted in their own destruction by supporting Obamacare.

Also many greedy Governors have enrolled in the Medicaid Expansion programs. They are taking this Administrations word(LOL) that they will keep their promise (LOL) to fund it for 3 years!! Well that would be the first promise that would be kept since 2007.

When that promise is broken, then the taxpayers of the State will pay the price in increased taxes. Then these R Governors will be defeated at the ballot box.

Gov Kasich is the worst, since he knows numbers. Levin went off on him this past week for his lies on one of the Sunday talk shows.

bluefox on March 28, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Let’s see…you strip people of their existing insurance then force to comply with your program or face a penalty. Yeah, I’d say that’s a good way to reach a goal. Sort of like a North Korean election. Either your vote for the dictator or you’re taken out and shot

jaywemm on March 28, 2014 at 10:51 AM

And what precisely is an “Obamacare Signup”? Basically you logged onto the website, got a username and password? That’s it?

1) How many have paid? Unknown.
2) What is demographic breakdown? Unknown.
3) How many were previously uninsured? Unknown.
4) Level of pure BS? Known.

mitchellvii on March 28, 2014 at 10:54 AM

WOW! Is this the first truth from the White House?

mixplix on March 28, 2014 at 11:07 AM

mitchellvii on March 28, 2014 at 10:54 AM

That sounds about right! You can add that at last count, over 9,000,000 that had insurance do not now.

Hmmm, now if one wanted to destroy the Best Health Care in the world, what would they do differently?

bluefox on March 28, 2014 at 11:09 AM

WOW! Is this the first truth from the White House?

mixplix on March 28, 2014 at 11:07 AM

What? I must have missed something roaming around the internet.

bluefox on March 28, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Why is there no emphasis on the Bait and Switch?

The 7 Million Goal was supposed to consist of New Signups from among the 30 to 46 Million Uninsured, NOT from the Millions who had there insurance cancelled that weren’t supposed to!

This is no Achievement, it’s like pulling water from the deep end of the pool and pouring it in the shallow end in order to make it deeper.

jaydee_007 on March 28, 2014 at 11:35 AM

What about those of us who are paying more for our insurance, with higher deductibles?? Are we counted as a success too??

KMC1 on March 28, 2014 at 12:49 PM

This is no Achievement, it’s like pulling water from the deep end of the pool and pouring it in the shallow end in order to make it deeper.

jaydee_007 on March 28, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Bait & Switch is exactly what happened. Great point!!

bluefox on March 28, 2014 at 12:54 PM

What an historically amazing success story this is turning out to be. Congrats, Obama!

everdiso on March 27, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Run away little troll. Come back when your grown up enough to defend yourself.

Until then, you’re like shooting fish in a barrell.

itsspideyman on March 28, 2014 at 1:31 PM

What great news for the country. Millions more now insured….
 
everdiso on March 27, 2014 at 5:03 PM

 
You may need to work on that understandably challenging 2nd grade math a bit more.
 
Here. Let’s start now. 15% were uninsured in 2008 (look at left side of graph), while 16% are uninsured in 2014
 
Now, which is bigger? Pre-Obamacare’s 15 or Obama’s 16?

rogerb on March 28, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Surely it was worth destroying the world’s greatest healthcare system so 6 million freeloaders could sign up and get yet another handout even though they were never denied treatment in the past.

Yeah!

trs on March 28, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Hey, I just put a bunch of cool stuff in my cart on Amazon. When should I expect delivery?

Demonized on March 29, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Liars…obvious liars to…

sorrowen on March 29, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Well whoopity do!

bgibbs1000 on March 30, 2014 at 1:23 PM

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