After repeatedly shifting the deadline for the end of Obamacare’s open enrollment period in past spring, the White House crowed when it determined it had finally reached its goal of enrolling 8 million Americans in Affordable Care Act-associated insurance plans. Few in the press made mention of the administration’s downward revision of that figure in October from 8.1 to 7.1 million Obamacare enrollees.
Don’t expect many in the administration or the media to make much of another revision of the estimated number of projected Obamacare insurance customers for this year’s open enrollment period. Anticipating slightly less than 6 million new enrollees, the CBO had projected a total of 13 million Americans would be signed up for ACA insurance by the end of the year. On Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services significantly revised its expectations when that agency revealed that fewer than 3 million more Americans would seek insurance under the ACA in the coming year.
“The revised goal is 9 to 9.9 million,” CNN reported. “It raises questions about whether Obamacare enrollment will reach projections down the road.”
The CBO had projected enrollment would hit 25 million by 2017, but now the administration says it will probably take at least one or two more years to reach that threshold.
“The reduced projection is due to recent data showing ‘mixed evidence’ about how quickly—and how dramatically—people will shift from employer-sponsored health insurance and non-Obamacare plans into insurance plans sold on government-run marketplaces such as HealthCare.gov, according to HHS,” a CNBC report observed.
None of this takes into account The Washington Post’s reporting on Monday which indicated that administration officials fear Healthcare.gov’s kinks may not have been completely ironed out.
“[F]ederal health officials and government contractors are scrambling, according to confidential documents and federal and outside experts familiar with this work,” The Post reported on Monday. “They have been making contingency plans in case the information technology or other aspects prove less sturdy than the administration predicts. And some preparations are coming down to the wire.”
All of this news makes it clear that the ACA is the law, set in stone and immutable, and Republicans are engaging in a misguided crusade when they seek to repeal the persistently unpopular health care reform law… right?