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

Darwin's choice

Hahahaha! Thats a good one obama!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a...

Obamacare....making failure look easy!

MrSandusky

Yes, but how many people are actually going to buy and pay for it? 8 million people can sign up for an Amazon account or an Ebay account, but does that mean that 8 million people are buying items from those sites?

How many just set up a free profile just to take a look?

I was at an event yesterday with about 70 other people. I was shocked at how many people said that they signed up for an account, found out how much purchasing the insurance was going to cost them, and decided to just pay the fine rather than buy the insurance.

looking around

If that is how they feel then provide them with forms right then and there to sign-off on all medical services unless arrangements to finance or pay cash is guaranteed.

The Big Dog's back

Exactly!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Why do that when we can just outlaw gratis/charity/unpaid healthcare? It's easier to just arrest doctors for "tax fraud" by allowing patients to not pay, isn't it? There's far less doctors and hospitals than individuals in order to enforce this sentiment. Shut down all hospitals that don't collect money up front too while we're at it. It's compassionate care mixed with fiscal responsibility. Criminal doctors will be punished for their nefarious care of everyone regardless of ability to pay.

Sheesh.

The Big Dog's back

Going out to right field again?

Darwin's choice

"Dear Mr. Obama, Senate and Congress:

I'm planning to move my family and extended family into Mexico for my health, and I would like to ask you to assist me.

We're planning to simply walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico , and we'll need your help to make a few arrangements.

We plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws.

I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here. So, would you mind telling your buddy, the President of Mexico , that I'm on my way over?

Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:

1. Free medical care for my entire family. (obamacare)

2. English-speaking Government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.

3. Please print all Mexican Government forms in English.

4. I want my grandkids to be taught Spanish by English-speaking (bi-lingual) teachers.

5. Tell their schools they need to include classes on American culture and history.

6. I want my grandkids to see the American flag on one of the flag poles at their school.

7. Please plan to feed my grandkids at school for both breakfast and lunch.

8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.

9. I do plan to get a car and drive in Mexico, but I don't plan to purchase car insurance, and I probably won't make any special effort to learn local traffic laws.

10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from their president to leave me alone, please be sure that every patrol car has at least one English-speaking officer.

11. I plan to fly the U.S. flag from my housetop, put U.S. flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. �I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.

12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, or have any labor or tax laws enforced on any business I may start.

13. Please have the president tell all the Mexican people to be extremely nice and never say critical things about me or my family, or about the strain we might place on their economy.

14. I want to receive free food stamps.

15. Naturally, I'll expect free rent subsidies.

16. I'll need income tax credits so that although I don't pay Mexican taxes, I'll receive money from the government.

17. Please arrange it so that the Mexican Government pays $4,500.00 to help me buy a new car.

18. Oh yes, I almost forgot, please enroll me free into the Mexican Social Security program so that I'll get a monthly income in retirement.

I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all of his people who walk over to the U.S. from Mexico . I am sure that the President of Mexico won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.

Do you see how stupid this looks when you put it in writing????"

Whiskey Tango F...

Quite possibly the best comment of the year. The truth usually gets deleted on here.

The Big Dog's back

Leave durwood. Please! Do you need help packing? I'll be right over if you do. Call me. :)

Bottom Line

What's wrong with his post, pooch? Dispute it with facts. You know what those are, right?

Darwin's choice

Dog, you big phony! I call you (something) all the time...you never like what I call you!

anthras

Re:"Leave durwood."

Big Dog his name is Darwin not durwood. Was that just an ignorant mistake by you are was it immaturity?

worddrow811

Put this in the print edition for all the other people to see, will you Matt? This is our country now and we have the government to thank for it! Awesome statement and kudos to Darwin's choice!

Stop It

Great stuff, Darwin's choice. Well said.

Pterocarya frax...

God you haters act like Darwin wrote this nonsense himself. He copied and pasted it from some other hater, because he is incapable of having this original of a thought.

Darwin's choice

No hate from you though........democrats.....! Still failing..!

Nemesis

How is that any different from Big Dog?

What's your point, other than that you have no response to offer to WHAT he posted.

sorryhog

Do you really believe his B.S.?

The Big Dog's back

You believed it when the numbers were low.

rbenn

Yawn, tell a lie enough hoping the sheep will believe it. This comment in no way was meant to be racist towards sheep or any other livestock.

The Big Dog's back

So, were the low numbers a lie?

Nemesis

The numbers are IRRELEVANT. So he could MAKE 8 million people to sign up for something by threatening to punish them if they didn't? How many registered with the Selective Service under Nixon? No difference.

coasterfan

The only thing that looks stupid to me are people who STILL insist that the Affordable Care Act isn't working, when it clearly IS working. Sign-up continues to ramp up day by day, and is now ABOVE expectations. One wonders how many people the law would have to help before conservatives would finally grudgingly admit that it is working.

8.5 million is a huge number of people. It would fill Ohio Stadium 85 times. Count from 1 to 85, and then ponder how it took longer than you thought to count to 85. Remind yourself that each number during your count represents 100,000 people.

The big unanswered question still remains: Why are Republicans fighting so hard to keep uninsured Americans from enjoying the same healthcare benefits they enjoy?

Darwin's choice

If 8.5 million were gallons of sewage, it would take 3.7 million toilets to flush it away....kinda the same thing as obamacare, needs lots of flushing!

deertracker

@coaster
Great post!

doppleganger

Coasterfan, I usually agree with most of your posts, but not this one. It is too soon to tell if it is "working". Just because people sign up doesn't mean a thing. How is America going to pay for this? This country cannot afford to insure everyone. If you want insurance, you need to work for it. It is not a right. My family's health insurance cost $15,000 last year (2 people) between my costs and my employer's. There is no way America can afford to pay that for every family. I don't care if the individual is paying $250/mo. The government can not afford to pick up the rest. I do not know what the solution is, and I feel very lucky to have an employer that offers insurance, but our country can not afford this.

The Big Dog's back

You said it, I have no solution. A person who would agree with coaster would have said Single payer, you know, like the rest of civilized countries have.

coasterfan

Dopple: I share your thoughts. America cannot afford to insure everyone, but the previous system was far worse, because WE ended up paying more out-of-pocket (in the form of higher premiums) to cover the ER visits/healthcare costs for the 40 million uninsured. Hospitals didn't treat those folks for free - they passed the cost on to US.

At least with Obamacare, they are forced to pay for some or all of their own healthcare costs. I would counter that we couldn't afford to continue doing things the way we had been. At least this system will take some of the burden off the rest of us.

I would also point out the obvious: if it's too early to say that it's working, then it's also too early to say that it ISN'T working.

So far, the observable results point to that it IS working: signup is above projections, and it's doing the exact things they expected it to do - especially in those states that WANT the law to work.

Single Payer would be much better. The biggest weaknesses of Obamacare are those things that were added to appease Republicans.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

How were they added to appease Republicans when no Republicans voted for this? If you want single payer I sure wish you would actually join with the rest of us who don't like the flaws of the ACA and push for something else. Instead, despite your very own wishes (and admission that the U.S. can't insure all its citizens which single payer would have to do), it is nothing but praise and defense of the ACA as the best thing ever. That seems pretty self-defeating and hollow.

I'll also point out that there were never "40 million uninsured" and question the eagerness and praise you employ by happily "forcing" people to do things.

Your argument: "We pay more to provide healthcare to those who don't have coverage."

Your solution: "We pay more to provide healthcare to those who don't have coverage."

Let's not forget that the U.S. government is guaranteeing profit via taxation to companies, a practice that you rightfully decry elsewhere. How is this any different?

How is any of this make sense to you, is what YOU actually want, or even what is remotely best for us as a country? I'll happily go back and forth all day long on the merits and appropriateness of single payer if we can agree that what has been passed is inappropriate and doesn't do what it was meant to do in the most efficient way possible.

worddrow811

NEVER, NEVER trust numbers that these people try to use. It is not possible to have exactly eight.five million people who have signed up! it's against all logic and is a made-up guess!

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