Obama: 8 million signed up for health care

Enrollments exceed expectations
Associated Press
Apr 18, 2014

Eight million people have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges and the proportion of younger applicants has increased, President Barack Obama said Thursday. The enrollments exceeded expectations and offered new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead of the midterm elections.

An impromptu appearance in the White House briefing room offered the president an opportunity to trumpet the new figures, which beat initial projections by 1 million. With an eye toward November, Obama castigated Republicans for continuing to seek out every opportunity to thwart the Affordable Care Act.

"This thing is working," Obama said of his signature domestic achievement.

Touting modest progress on another front, Obama said 35 percent of enrollees are under 35 years old, suggesting that in the final weeks of enrollment, the administration managed to sign up higher numbers of younger, healthier people who are critical to the law's viability.

The most coveted age group comprises those between 18 and 34 years old. White House officials said that for the 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead, 28 percent are in that age group — a step in the right direction from March, when the administration said just 25 percent were 18 to 34.

In a sharp rebuke to his political opponents, Obama called out states that have refused to embrace an expansion of Medicaid under "Obamacare," arguing that their opposition was rooted in nothing more than sheer ideology and political spite.

"That's wrong. It should stop," he said. "Those folks should be able to get health insurance like everybody else."

Although the first year's open enrollment season for the exchanges closed on March 31, the administration is still tallying the number of total enrollees. States managing their own exchanges have been slower to report data, and some Americans who started applications before the deadline were given extra time to complete their enrollment.

The demographic figures also give Democrats an opportunity to blunt the pessimism of Republicans, some of whom have accused the White House of "cooking the books" by announcing large overall enrollment numbers that tell only part of the story.

"They still can't bring themselves to admit that the Affordable Care Act is working," Obama said. "The longer we see the law benefiting millions of people, the more we see accusations that the law is hurting people being completely debunked."

Democrats have been hoping that better-than-expected results could help their candidates reclaim the political high ground on "Obamacare" before Election Day. Seven months out, Democrats are seeking to turn the page on the law's disastrous debut in October, when HealthCare.gov was virtually unusable. Obama seemed to affirm that strategy last week when he announced that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who became the face of the rollout failure, was stepping down.

Polling shows the law remains unpopular in much of the country, but Democrats plan to argue that by trying to repeal the law, Republicans are actively working to take health care away from 8 million Americans.

Although the new figures provide some clarity about how well the exchanges performed, there are still plenty of unknowns.

Officials haven't released a tally of how many enrollees were previously uninsured and are thus gaining health care thanks to the law. It's also unclear how many enrollees sealed the deal by paying their first month's premium to the insurance companies.

Republicans seized on those uncertainties to argue that Obama is hyping figures that obscure the real damage the law is inflicting — like higher premiums, smaller provider networks and canceled policies, according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

"It's long past time for Washington Democrats to work with us to remedy the mess they created — and that means repealing this law and replacing it with real reforms that actually lower costs," McConnell said.

As Obama's health law begins to look more viable, Democrats have been seeking to change the political debate from one about repeal to one about fixing lingering issues with the law.

Obama said it's "absolutely possible" to make improvements, but that it would require a change of attitude from Republicans. But election-year posturing and the GOP's reluctance to be seen as embracing "Obamacare" make than an unlikely proposition.

The president's upbeat assessment came shortly after he and top aides had separate meetings with leading insurance executives and state insurance commissioners.

"I think that's a pretty good number in terms of trying to make sure we have a healthy pool," Montana's insurance commissioner, Monica Lindeen, said of the surge in younger enrollees.

In other positive news for Obama's health care law, California's state-run insurance exchange reported Thursday that nearly 1.4 million Californians had enrolled by the end of open enrollment, besting original projections by almost 100,000 people.

Comments

coasterfan

Except when the numbers showed - early on - that Obamacare was off to a poor start, fith?. Back in November, Conservatives believed the stats. As soon as things started to turn in Obamacare's favor, well, then suddenly the statisticians were incorrect.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I believe that those numbers were also disingenuous and that the point of petty Republican poking at the ACA was that "even if these numbers you report are true, look how low it is." Unfortunately as has been illustrated here in these forums locally and over in D.C. is that facts, logic, and communication boil down to asinine party bickering instead of an investigation of the problem(s) at hand.

Donegan

What is working , Postponing critical parts of the bill so morons will believe its working for the next election or the Bill itself? I would choose the former since it has definitely fooled you.
8.5 is a made up number that even the president has stated was a educated guess at best. Knowing that educated number is coming from Obama worshipers makes everyone skeptical as everyone knows Democrats have a hard time with numbers. Just look at the debt.

anthras

Re:"The only thing that looks stupid to me are people who STILL insist that the Affordable Care Act isn't working,"

Obama alleges 8 million signed up. Blue cross tells us that 15-20% that signed up are not paying the premiums. A few million were placed on medicaid getting free coverage thanks to the tax payers and I would like to ask where is the government getting the money to subsidize many of the people that have signed up? The common figure that seems prevalent is that 6 million persons have been cancelled and most of the new sign ups are just those that were cancelled and now signing up at higher premiums with higher deductibles.

The state of Maryland reported that 60,000 people in that state signed up while 73,000 were cancelled. Also what about the millions of persons that had full time jobs with healthcare and now are working a part time job with no healthcare?

dontknowmuch

8.5 million falls WELL SHORT of the 35-40 million we were told needed insurance. If we're sitting in math class and get only 20 percent of our projection we'd be deemed a failure.

Is it working? That cannot be fairly answered and anyone who believes it is continuiing to drink out of Obama's toilet. If this was as good as el Presidente keeps touting, then why the need to keep delaying certain aspects until after elections. If its good enough after the election, its certainly good enough before.

Stop It

“If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” ― W.C. Fields.

Dr. Information

Affordable care act with 2/3 of it being subsidized by tax payer money.

8M signed up means nothing. How many have paid?

looking around

The fact is Dr. if they don't make payment it's like any other insurance....they don't get coverage. If they elect to pay the "fine" they don't get coverage, but the money will help to pay for assistance given to others that participate in the program. If they don't get coverage then You and I and all the others who work hard pay taxes and make sure we and ours are covered pay for them totally along with the few Doctors who are willing to provide their services free of charge, and God bless them.

Dr. Information

You missed the point. Signing up is like going on Amazon and placing items in your shopping cart but not actually buying them. 8 million is not the definitive number. Sure you can sign up, but when the bill comes and you don't pay it, which will happen, then are they truly covered? Obama says yes, this number counts, I say it doesn't.

The government has a way to figure out how many have signed up vs signed up AND paid. They just do not want to release the other number because its really low.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Looking, what hurts the cause you point out is that there are no "teeth" and hardly any resources in an overburdened IRS to do the collection of the tax imposed on people who don't want to be forced by the government to enter into a private contract as a private citizen with a private company. I somehow doubt that if someone doesn't pay for insurance they'll also pay the penalty meaning now (as the argument goes) "we" pay for this person's care with money that isn't contributed to by what would have been collected from this same person.

There's a great many things that sound amazing on paper. "If only people would...", "If only we can force people to...", but when it is put that way and we look at the entirety of history when have any of these "if only" things come to fruition?

That's why I would much prefer a system that doesn't command free people into forced behavior. Instead I would favor a system that allows the individual true portability, choice, and allows natural market forces to make prices for services known and controlled.

But when I hear those like coasterfan continually use "force" with "government" I get very anxious as I hope you can understand...

FTFOI

coasterfan
I lost my insurance because it has gone too high for me to afford. And I make too much to fall into "affordable".
I was born an American with right to make my own choices. One of which is health insurance. I DO NOT appreciate being told by the government what I MUST purchase. I beleive it is a violation of rights.

The Big Dog's back

Don't get the insurance and pay the fine. There, that was easy.

coasterfan

Ah, yes, the typical half-baked conservative responses. Through the ACA, Americans pay for a portion or all of their own healthcare, depending on their financial wherewithal. Whatever portion they pay, WE don't have to pay. Remember, until now we were covering 100% of their healthcare costs. Would Republicans rather go back to the old system in which they had to pay for ALL of the healthcare costs of 40 million uninsured Americans?

Secondly, people are always griping about us using our federal tax dollars for questionable items, such as funding to other countries...such as giving million dollar subsidies to highly profitable companies such as Exxon, Verizon, etc. The ACA instead helps AMERICANS, and more importantly, Americans who most need the help. And best of all, it puts the onus on them to pay for their own healthcare, if possible. This is a good thing.

As far as how many have paid, I read a month ago that it was between 80-90%. The obvious thing conservatives are missing is: just because they hadn't paid their premium yet, doesn't mean they aren't going to pay it later. And certainly many did just that. I DID read that many who had signed up no longer needed it, because they had gotten jobs, or gotten married.

The thing most noticeable about the conservative comments above is their utter lack of substance. They gripe, they call names, but they have absolutely nothing concrete to show that Obamacare is not working. The reason they don't cite any proof is because there ISN'T any proof.

And they STILL dodge my question; WHY are Republicans trying so hard to deny healthcare coverage to millions of Americans???

The Big Dog's back

Exactly!

Darwin's choice

You two are incredible! Remember, a polished terd is still a terd, but your directions on how to pick it up by the "clean" end are amusing.

obamacare/fail

coasterfan

Yup. Another response, completely lacking in substance.

If you want to actually win a debate, Darwin, you have to offer more than "Obamacare is bad".

Bottom Line

Coasterfan, how dare YOU critique Darwin (or anyone on here with a brain, unlike yourself). You, deertracker and big dog have the debate skills of a slow 3rd grader. You brush provable facts aside constantly with childish little remarks. You're a JOKE.

The Big Dog's back

"Provable facts"? That is the funniest thing I've heard in a long time.

Bottom Line

Thanks for the example further proving my point.

Dr. Information

coaster and big are the same poster. They just log back in and out and agree with themselves. Delusional.

Stop It

I thought everyone knew that.

Donegan

Why is Obama postponing the bill 38 times? He is more of a hinderence to your glorious handout to the insurance companies than the repubs ever thought of. Why aren't you mad at him? You know because he is no doing his job enforcing the bill he signed.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Where did you read these things? Can you please provide links?

Also I'd like to point out: "...such as giving million dollar subsidies to highly profitable companies such as Medical Mutual, Humana, etc."

As for paying their own costs when possible? Weren't people not paying before because it wasn't possible? As I have said before with the ACA we are paying for people to get healthcare so we don't have to pay for people who get healthcare. Where is there any iota of logic in that? It's "the same thing but different" only it's not the same because now we have middlemen, costs, and all kinds of regulations interfering in an otherwise streamlined system.

If you wanted to put everyone on Medicaid, that would have been a simpler bill than this mess "we had to pass to see what was in it."

As for your loaded question? I can't speak for Republicans but I am willing to wager they aren't denying healthcare for anyone. What is unfortunate is that much like Democrats who are lauding this plan as God's gift they can't see past their own inter-party bickering to sit down and discuss the facts and make sound counter-proposals.

peoplercrazy14

Anybody before this healthcare act had the freedom to get insurance nobody was stopping them. Now there's no freedom to make that choice because now it's mandated and you'll be fined, the government is making the choice for you or you will pay. Kind of sounds like extortion which last I knew was illegal but hey, what do I know the government obeys laws and freedoms of American citizens, right?

The Big Dog's back

Gov, Gov, Gov, Obama, Obama, Obama. I kinda feel sorry for you people of low intel. But, you have the choice to get facts or right wingnut talking points. You made your choice.

looking around

Yes, sort of like automobile insurance used to be before mandatory minimum coverages. You could choose to drive or not to drive, however some felt it overbearing and decided to drive anyway.....so they were arrested and fined and forced to buy insurance if they wanted to continue to drive! Nothing is made mandatory until people that feel they should not be responsible for themselves create a problem that regulations, laws, and acts need be put in place to make them responsible. At least you are being offered assistance in the event that your income limits your ability to provide this for yourself.

anthras

Re:"Yes, sort of like automobile insurance used to be before mandatory minimum coverages."

Auto insurance is not mandatory as many companies choose to self insure and for the individual if he can show he is financially responsible to cover an accident insurance is not required. There are many persons that can afford to provide for their own medical care however with Obamacare insurance would still be mandatory.

looking around

I beeg you pardon auto liability insurance is mandatory I don't care if you buy it or post a bond to self insure, which by the way is a pretty dumb way of doing it as it puts your own assets at risk. However I don't know of many wealthy people who can afford health insurance that choose not to buy policy's for themselves mandatory or not. We are talking about a program that helps others who formerly had no means of purchasing insurance or perhaps no desire to, getting coverage.

Retired2008

Obamacare is working.

Remember how well it has worked for you in November.

The Big Dog's back

Yes, please do. Just like your Medicare is working for you.

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