Little Enthusiasm for Obamacare Exchanges

by Tevi Troy

The Obama administration hosted a media call today to tout the fact that a whole six states have received “conditional approval” for their state-based health exchanges. Unsurprisingly, the six states mentioned on the call — Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington — are all blue states with Democratic governors. 

The Obama officials sounded excited about this, but the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff asked the reasonable follow-up question of how many total applications the administration had received. The answer: 15, an unimpressive number. 

When National Journal’s Margot Sanger-Katz asked how many more they might be expecting, she was told that they “can’t speculate” on what states might do. According to one of the journalists on the call that I checked with, there are only a handful of additional states that might even consider participating at this point, meaning that the upper bound is 17 states out 51 (counting the District of Columbia). The Obama administration may want to tout this announcement as a win, but the truth is that there seems to be little appetite in the state capitals for participating in the exchanges.

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