(Daily Signal) -- In April, President Obama told the nation that “marketplace” or “exchange” enrollment, at 8 million customers as of March 31, had exceeded expectations and costs were lower than expected.
Many in the news media accepted the selectively released statistics, despite the Obama administration’s record of sometimes providing inaccurate or incomplete information on HealthCare.gov. Even today, the government continues to withhold relevant public information on costs and enrollment requested by Congress and the press under the Freedom of Information Act.
In fact, the measure of the Affordable Care Act’s success rests neither with individual anecdotes nor in the Obama administration’s self-assessments. It’s a long-term process that many analysts say will take years to unfold.
One thing that’s not in question: The insurance industry already has been largely transformed.Many who were considered uninsurable now have affordable policies. But the Affordable Care Act has shifted the cost burden for those who already had insurance. More policies now have bigger deductibles and cost more.
“In general, healthy people are paying more and unhealthy people are paying less,” says a source who supports and helped implement Obamacare but is disappointed with the results to date, “with those above-average [income] tending to pay more and those below-average [income] tending to pay less.”
“Is the new law effective in reducing the number of uninsured? Yes, but so far not very,” he says.
Key questions include:
How many actually have enrolled?
How many of those were previously uninsured?
How has Obamacare affected the overall pool of uninsured?
What percentage of eligible people have signed up?
What’s the cost?
Enrollment: Less Than Advertised
The administration hasn’t released any enrollment figures in the last 2 ½ months, and a spokesman from the government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which helps oversee Obamacare, said the agency is not likely to issue any updates soon.
As of March 31, according to the Obama administration, 8 million people signed up for private insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace, exceeding its target of 7 million.
“The Affordable Care Act is working,” said an April 17 White House fact sheet. “It is giving millions of middle class Americans the health care security they deserve, it is slowing the growth of health care costs and it has brought transparency and competition to the Health Insurance Marketplace.”
But the 8 million figure is overstated because it counted people who weren’t actually covered because they hadn’t paid their premiums, which Blue Cross, analysts and the government agree is in the 15 percent to 20 percent range.
Therefore, the actual number of Obamacare enrollees as of March 31 was likely between 6.4 million and 6.8 million, below both the administration’s figure of 8 million and its stated target of 7 million.