Steady health care sign-ups may miss goal

Obama administration needs 1.8 million people to enroll by March 31 in order to hit target
Associated Press
Mar 11, 2014

The Obama administration said Tuesday it's making steady progress on health care sign-ups, but the White House needs something close to a miracle to meet its goal of enrolling 6 million people by the end of this month.

It could happen with a sustained surge in consumer demand and a foolproof website. But they're not seeing it yet, and time is running out.

The Department of Health and Human Services said more than 940,000 people signed up during February for private coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law, bringing total sign-ups to 4.2 million.

But with open enrollment ending March 31, that means to meet the goal, another 1.8 million people would have to sign up by the end of the month, an average of about 60,000 a day.

That's way above the daily averages for January and February, which have ranged between 33,000 and 34,000. The math seems to be going against the administration.

Officials expect the pace to pick up. The big question is whether it will be enough to make up for the technical troubles that paralyzed HealthCare.gov much of last fall and the continuing challenges for several state-sponsored websites.

The goal of 6 million sign-ups is itself a lower bar than was originally set. The Congressional Budget Office scaled back its original target of 7 million because of the federal website's computer problems. HealthCare.gov serves 36 states, while 14 states and Washington, D.C., are running their own sites.

The 943,000 enrolled in February fell short of the target of 1.27 million that HHS initially set for the month.

And the cumulative total of 4.2 million sign-ups is just three-fourths of the 5.65 million that HHS originally projected would sign up by the end of February. Those estimates were contained in a Sept. 5, 2013 departmental memo to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The numbers released Tuesday still don't say how many of those signing up were previously uninsured, which is the ultimate test of Obama's health care overhaul. And they don't say how many consumers have sealed the deal by paying their premiums.

Separately, a Gallup survey released Monday found that the share of Americans without health insurance has been going down so far this year, albeit modestly.

Among the highlights of Tuesday's federal report:

• Young adults seemed to be showing a little more interest in signing up. Of those signing up in February, 27 percent were between the ages of 18-34. Their premiums are needed to help defray the cost of caring for older generations. Cumulatively, people ages 55-64 are the leading group among those signing up, accounting for 30 percent of total enrollment.

• More than four out of five who have enrolled thus far were eligible for tax credits to help offset the cost of premiums, and in some cases also to reduce their deductibles and copayments.

• 55 percent of those signing up are women, and 45 percent are men.

An AP analysis of state-by-state enrollment numbers showed 13 states are running ahead of their enrollment targets. Virginia, with a new Democratic governor who supports the health care law, was the latest addition to that list. Six of the top-performing states are led by Republican governors: Florida, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Some states that have run into trouble have reduced their enrollment goals. But based on the original HHS enrollment targets, the five at the bottom are Massachusetts, Washington, D.C, Oregon, New Mexico, and Nevada.

 

Comments

thinkagain

Only 1.8 million to go before the number enrolled will equal the number of policies cancelled.

SamAdams

As usual, the numbers for February are wrong (most figures I've seen are just a little over half what this article claims). And still the administration blames the Web site or a lack of publicity! Apparently, it's never occurred to them that a LOT of Americans are smart enough to know a bad deal when they see one -- and to steer clear!

I saw an interesting little statistic on Twitter the other night. If you took the millions of dollars spent on the Web site alone, and split the money evenly among all Americans, we'd each have over a million dollars. Gosh, I'll bet we could afford our healthcare then, and we wouldn't have to lose our freedom (or our jobs, our houses, our insurance policies, our doctors, our health) to do it!

Another interesting number? That the number of uninsured in 2017 will be about 30 million. Interestingly enough, that's the estimated number of uninsured BEFORE the Democrats decided to spend billions, put insurance carriers out of business, bankrupt the middle class, kill off the sick (Harry Reid is the liar, not those sick people suffering even greater indignities thanks to Obamacare), and prove to one and all that politicians lie, lie, lie.

thinkagain

If we estimate 315 million Americans and 1 million dollars each, you’re saying the website cost 315 trillion dollars.

I told you a person addicted to marijuana will suffer impaired brain function.

There you go again

Whatever the per person dollar amount spent, it is astronomical. No argument there!!!

SamAdams

Sorry. Not marijuana nor alcohol, but a sidetracked mind thinking Website sign-ups and overall costs of Obamacare. It would still be cheaper than Websites (and subsidies and enforcement) to just PAY for everybody's healthcare as they need it. Not that I'd recommend that either, but it would certainly cost less!

Darwin's choice

Obama/obamacare/coasterfan/democrats/complete failure!

ohioengineer

Obamacare was never about providing health insurance for Americans, rather it is a way to bring 1/6th of the US economy under the control of the Federal government. So even if it destroys the best health care system in the world and leaves us all uninsured, it will be viewed as a success - at least in the eyes of the Washington establishment.

grumpy

If they make a deadline or goal it would be worthy of a headline. The fact that obama will fall short is expected and not worth a headline story. It is what most people have come to expect from this administration... another failure. After 5 years it is just one more fail. Who bothers counting anymore.

After all it is bush's fault... The third bush.

coasterfan

Rumors of Obama's demise and Obamacare's demise from his opponents. So what else is new?

Obamacare is here to stay, and Republicans are, once again, taking a stance of rooting for other Americans to NOT enjoy something THEY enjoy. They have health insurance for their own family, but don't think others should have it. They enjoy being married to the person they love, but don't think gays should have that right. While you guys are inventing new scandals, we're busy making sure people know just what the Republican Party stands for.

Signup for the ACA continues to ramp up. Both Medicare and Social Security went through the inevitable growing pains at first, as expected for huge gov't programs. Not surprisingly, Republicans fought the implementation of both of those, too. It wasn't long before everyone realized that they were good programs that provided a vital safety net for our society.

And so it will be in a few years with Health Care. Five or ten years from now, we'll find it hard to believe that one political party tried so hard to keep America as the only first-world country without nationalized healthcare, just as we now look back to the Civil Rights era and are appalled at how minorities were treated.

Isn't it interesting that Republicans are ALWAYS on the wrong side of every great social change in America? Like the prehistoric dinosaurs before you, your party is on the road to extinction, simply because you refuse to evolve. Republicans in 2014 are almost as busy attacking the various factions of their own party as they are attacking Democrats. Hate and ignorance are out of style. Didn't you get the memo?

Darwin's choice

Keep dreaming there spinster, this failure is going to be epic. As many reductions have been made, by the "deadline", the number will be dropped again.
No matter though, obamacare will not survive.

But, your employer must be getting nervous with obamafail,and later this year, the shellacing you're going to get at the polls....maybe you should buy a plane ticket from yourself.....

Five or ten years from now,people will look back and say "Really, Obama?" He is the worst president ever!

Fromthe419

@coasterfan: I have tried to be generous when responding to your posts and not calling you a lunatic, but I have to ask what you mean by:

"Both Medicare and Social Security went through the inevitable growing pains at first, as expected for huge gov't programs."

These very programs are destroying us by being unfunded liabilities, I agree it would be nice to have systems in place to take care of an aging population and a system to take care of the health care needs of all...but our politicians spent the money on other programs as the money came in. We can not trust politicians to take care of us, as the taxes we pay will never go towards what it is supposed to. Understand, this is not a D or R thing, this is about what the root cause is...the system is broken.

Contango

Re: "unfunded liabilities"

Agreed. ACA is just ANOTHER potential fiscal disaster.

See the ongoing tsunami: Unfunded public ee. pension benefits.

"Public Pension Red Alert"

http://online.wsj.com/news/artic...

Contango

Coasterfan writes: " America as the only first-world country without nationalized healthcare,"

Following in the footsteps of the father of the modern welfare state, Prussian autocrat Otto von Bismarck, eh?

grumpy

Re: "Obamacare is here to stay,"
Yes obamaScare is here to stay... much like Prohibition was here to stay when a Constitutional Amendment was passed to grant Prohibition, and a few years later it was rescinded by another Amendment. Both prohibition and obamaScare were equally well? thought out and had their supporting zealots that supported it (well past it's end) till the inglorious, inevitable, end.

SamAdams

Really? Republicans on the "wrong side of every great social change?" Like ending slavery, you mean. Oh, wait! That was Republicans. Like the Civil Rights Act? Oops, Republicans again! Either you don't consider those things "great," or you're just lying for effect. Imagine my surprise on EITHER count...

ohioengineer

Two thoughts: first, as a recent retiree and Social Security recipient I wish that this program had never seen the light of day. I would love to have my forty years of contributions to this terrible program back, so that I could have invested them myself and be enjoying the fruits of my own success (and failure). Instead, I am now completely dependent upon the whims of some politicians in Washington who insist upon calling my hard earned investment in Social Security an "entitlement."

Second, my wife and I recently traveled in China - one of those "lucky" countries with a nationalized health care system. Unfortunately, my wife got quite sick in China and we were forced to make use of this "fantastic" medical system. I won't bore you with details, but just let me say that I would be hard pressed to take my dog to a Chinese hospital if I had any choice.

thinkagain

David Jolly started the wave that will Sink the democrat ship come November.

sorryhog

Go to jail, you will get better benefits than most senior citizens!

Contango

Pres. Obama needs to do the right thing and get out his "pen and phone," wave his 'magic executive order wand,' say “abracadabra” and delay the individual mandate.

Dr. Information

Obamacare = failure on all levels.

grumpy

Another change in the obamaScare plan has come to light... This time about the individual mandate...

http://online.wsj.com/news/artic...

ObamaCare's implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

Darwin's choice

Isn't it amazing that the media has been quiet about this? Again?
Where's coasterfan and big dog? Do you two still believe obama can walk across Lake Erie?

Contango

Re: "individual mandate... "

Good post!

Obam☭are more expensive than that bad, old health ins.?

Say it ain't so!

Without individuals being FORCED to sign-up?

Obam☭are: Crash, burn & die.

SamAdams

Re: Obam☭are: Crash, burn & die.

And soon, oh, please, SOON! Or at least before the damages done are irreversible!

The New World Czar

Newest office pool will be how many more delays before this fall's elections...

Contango

"Obama to Latino Town Hall: Cut Cable, Cell Phone to Afford ACA Plan":

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/chr...

Obviously according to Pres. Obama, the guy is too stupid to know what's good for him.