The Corner

WSJ: 50,000 Enrolled in Insurance on Federal Exchange So Far

As of last week, fewer than 50,000 people have signed up for private health insurance on the federal government’s exchange, the Wall Street Journal reports — specifically, health-insurance companies have gotten the health-plan enrollment information for 40–50,000 people. Internal memos cited by Michigan Republican congressman Dave Camp last week had projected 500,000 enrollees on the federal exchange (which serves about 35 states) through October, so obviously the target has been missed by a wide margin. The federal exchange has also presumably led many people to sign up for Medicaid, but we don’t know how many just yet.

This number, by my ballpark calculations, means about 1 percent of the people whom the CBO expected to enroll on the federal exchange have purchased plans so far.

This is worse than the enrollment numbers seen in states that are running their own exchanges, which have supposedly been more successful (some of them do still have to rely on federal resources, such as the federal “data hub” that verifies people’s eligiblity for tax credits), but not much worse. Avalere, a health-care consulting firm, released an estimate today based on publicly available information that about 50,000 people have enrolled in private health-care plans, which amounts to, by their reckoning, 3 percent of the people expected by the CBO to enroll in those states for 2014 (based on the CBO’s national estimate of 7 million). 

Doing some back-of-the-envelope math with Avalere’s model, about 2.5 million of the people the CBO expects to get insurance live in states with state-run exchanges, leaving 4.5 million in the states with the federally run exchange –so about 1 percent of the people who need to enroll have enrolled. This is a really rough estimate, of course, but it is interesting — it’s a poor showing (the Obama administration expected 10 percent of the target enrollees to sign up in this time period, according to the aforementioned documents), but it isn’t much worse than the state exchanges, either.

Sliced another way, working just from the numbers of uninsured people in each state (regardless of income and subsidy eligiblity, etc.), the rate is similar. About 60 percent of uninsured Americans live in states using the federal exchange, so we’d expect about 4.2 million of them to get insurance — again, meaning about 1 percent of the CBO’s projected enrollees have enrolled.

Some context for the numbers is warranted: People don’t need to enroll until mid December for their coverage to begin January 1, and they don’t need to enroll until March 31 to avoid the individual-mandate penalty, so one wouldn’t necessarily expect them to be banging down the door yet. Avalere points out that only 10 percent of eventual enrollees in Medicare Part D did so by the time coverage began (January 1, 2014 being the equivalent date here). And the White House also likes pointing out that enrollment in Massachusetts’s exchanges went even slower, with just 0.3 percent of enrollees in the first month. But there, residents had eleven months to sign up between the debut of the law and the mandate’s deadline; automatic enrollment of some uninsured not counted in the 0.3 percent number also proceeded much more rapidly (the only automatic enrollment for Obamacare involves some states transferring people from state-level insurance programs to Medicaid).

Patrick Brennan — Patrick Brennan is a writer and policy analyst based in Washington, D.C. He was Director of Digital Content for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, writing op-eds, policy content, and leading the ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Problem with Certainty

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including those of you having this read to you while you white-knuckle the steering wheel trying to get to wherever you’re going for the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Worst Cover-Up of All Time

President Donald Trump may be guilty of many things, but a cover-up in the Mueller probe isn’t one of them. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attempting to appease forces in the Democratic party eager for impeachment, is accusing him of one, with all the familiar Watergate connotations. The charge is strange, ... Read More
World

Theresa May: A Political Obituary

On Friday, Theresa May, perhaps the worst Conservative prime minister in recent history, announced her resignation outside of number 10 Downing Street. She will step down effective June 7. “I have done my best,” she insisted. “I have done everything I can. . . . I believe it was right to persevere even ... Read More
PC Culture

TV Before PC

Affixing one’s glance to the rear-view mirror is usually as ill-advised as staring at one’s own reflection. Still, what a delight it was on Wednesday to see a fresh rendition of “Those Were the Days,” from All in the Family, a show I haven’t watched for nearly 40 years. This time it was Woody Harrelson ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Democrats’ Other Class War

There is a class war going on inside the Democratic party. Consider these two cris de couer: Writing in the New York Times under the headline “America’s Cities Are Unlivable — Blame Wealthy Liberals,” Farhad Manjoo argues that rich progressives have, through their political domination of cities such as ... Read More
Culture

The Deepfake of Nancy Pelosi

You’ve almost made it to a three-day weekend! Making the click-through worthwhile: A quick note about how National Review needs your help, concerns about “deepfakes” of Nancy Pelosi, one of the most cringe-inducing radio interviews of all time, some news about where to find me and the book in the near ... Read More
White House

For Democrats, the Party’s Over

If the Democrats are really tempted by impeachment, bring it on. Since the day after the 2016 election they have been threatening this, placing their chips on the Russian-collusion fantasy and then on the phantasmagoric charade of obstruction of justice. The attorney general accurately gave the ingredients of the ... Read More
U.S.

America’s Best Defense Against Socialism

The United States of America has flummoxed socialists since the nineteenth century. Marx himself couldn’t quite understand why the most advanced economy in the world stubbornly refused to transition to socialism. Marxist theory predicts the immiseration of the proletariat and subsequent revolution from below. ... Read More