The White House announced today that 6 million Americans have signed up for plans on the new marketplaces created by Obamacare (that doesn’t include millions more who have gained coverage via Medicaid expansion). Of those 6 million, around 33,500 have come from Arkansas.
Hitting the 6 million mark reaches the projection that the Congressional Budget Office made after the healthcare.gov troubles led to a rocky enrollment rollout, but is still one million short of the initial CBO projection of 7 million. However, given the extension granted to folks to sign up past March 31, and the fact that there was always going to be a pool of people signing up after open enrollment (due to changes in circumstance, such as losing a job), total enrollment in Obamacare will likely pass the 7 million mark some time this year.
Some big questions remain. How many of the 6 million have paid for their plans (this data only tracks those who have enrolled, whether or not they’ve made an initial premium payment)? How many of the 6 million were already insured (one of the goals of the Affordable Care Act, of course, is to cover more of the previously uninsured)? Meanwhile, though attention naturally focuses on the big number, each state has its own marketplace with its own mix of enrollees. The relevant figures are actually state-by-state, not the nation as a whole. Still, all that said, this much is clear: the conservative predictions of total Obamacare collapse in the tense early days of healthcare.gov have not come to fruition. People are getting covered.
One thing to note is the death-grip with which some anti-Obamacare conservatives hold tight to talking points. Enrollment has not been the disaster they hoped for. So we see whining about extensions, whining that only makes sense if one is hoping to keep enrollment low and rooting for the marketplaces to fail. Those who view politics as a partisan exercise in rooting for the laundry have a voracious appetite for bad news, but let’s not forget that problems on the Marketplace will ultimately hurt Arkansans, not Obama.