Why 29,000 Obamacare sign ups are nothing to celebrate

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  • @marcthiessen 29,000 signups over two days doesn’t sound so hot, does it? It’s a drop in the bucket

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  • @marcthiessen The clock is ticking. And 29,000 every two days is not going to cut it

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  • 29,000 may be an improvement for Obamacare, but for the millions who lost their healthcare, it’s too little too late

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Obamacare supporters are celebrating the news that 29,000 people signed up for Obamacare on Sunday and Monday — the first days since the re-launch of the HealthCare.gov website.  Calling it an “enrollment surge,” Obama officials gushed to POLITICO that this figure “surpasses the total for the whole month of October” and “provide the clearest evidence yet that the federal exchange is on the mend.”  High fives all around!

Sorry to break the bad news, but they might want to hold off on popping the champagne corks over at the White House just yet.

29,000 may have signed up for Obamacare, but as of Monday about 5.6 million Americans have had their health insurance cancelled because of Obamacare.

That means the administration is still in a deep, deep hole. If those people don’t find new insurance (either on the exchanges or elsewhere) soon,  the White House is going end up having millions of newly un-insured Americans on January 1.  To avoid that humanitarian and political disaster, they would have to be signing up about 240,000 people on federal and state exchanges a day, every single day, starting on Dec. 1 until Dec. 23rd — and that’s just to break even.

Put in that context, and given that the federal site serves 36 states, 29,000 signups over two days doesn’t sound so hot, does it?

It’s a drop in the bucket.

Moreover, it’s the Post reported yesterday that the website is still failing to transmit enrollment information to insurers, or is sending inaccurate or incomplete data, meaning that many who think they’ve bought policies actually have not.  These enrollment errors, the Post reports, “cumulatively have affected roughly one third of the people who have signed up for health plans since Oct. 1.”

For argument’s sake, let’s be generous and give the administration credit for about 200,000 total sign-ups since October in both the federal website and state exchanges so far.

That still leaves them about 5.4 million short if they are to get all the folks they have driven out of their individual market plans covered.  The clock is ticking.  They’ve now got 20 days left to do it.  And 29,000 every two days is not going to cut it.

With just 29,000 over the first two days since the re-launch, the number they must sign up every day has now grown from 240,000 to 270,000 a day.  And every day they miss the mark, the number gets higher and more unattainable.

At this rate, they are on pace for a grand total of 330,500 signups on the federal exchanges before the Dec. 23 deadline — which leaves them about 5.27 million short of breaking even.

So 29,000 may be an improvement for Obamacare — but for the millions who have lost their healthcare because of Obamacare, it’s too little too late.

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About the Author

 

Marc A.
Thiessen
  • A member of the White House senior staff under President George W. Bush, Marc A. Thiessen served as chief speechwriter to the president and to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Prior to joining the Bush administration, Thiessen spent more than six years as spokesman and senior policy adviser to Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.). He is a weekly columnist for the Washington Post, and his articles can be found in many major publications. His book on the Central Intelligence Agency's interrogation program, Courting Disaster (Regnery Press, 2010), is a New York Times bestseller. At AEI, Thiessen writes about U.S. foreign and defense policy issues for The American and the Enterprise Blog. He appears every Sunday on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends" and makes frequent appearances on other TV and talk radio programs.


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