Some in administration encouraged on Obamacare
February 13th, 2014
02:54 PM ET
10 months ago

Some in administration encouraged on Obamacare

Washington (CNN) – The White House, which has been set back on its heels for months due to the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act, is voicing some real optimism about the recent uptick in enrollment numbers, as well as the demographic trends.

“We’re very encouraged, because this is trending in the right way,” says a senior administration official. “The fact that millions have signed up is good—and it also makes it more likely that others will sign up.”

Obamacare employer mandate eased

Numbers through February 1 show that 3.3 million people have now signed up since the troubled website first went online on October 1. Of those, 25% are between the ages of 18-34. When children (under 18) are taken into account, that number rises to 31%.

The expectation, says one administration official, is that “sick people are the first to sign up” and as you go through the months, the enrollees get younger and healthier. In order for the reform effort to be financially successful, there needs to be a sizable percentage of younger people who presumably are healthy in order to support the older and sicker who enroll.

And now, some actual good news about Obamacare

One big unanswered question remains how satisfied insurance companies are with the latest results, and whether these numbers track with their expectations when they set their premiums for next year. If the numbers are generally on target, then there should be no premium shock; if they are not on target, there could be rate increases that would no doubt be unwelcome—both financially and politically.

As CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta reported Thursday, there is also some concern from insurers about those who have enrolled, but have not paid their premiums. The data on payment is not public, and some estimates, according to Acosta’s insurance industry source, range between 10-25%. An administration official tells me that there’s always a small percentage of people who don’t pay, but the source does not have any actual numbers to offer.

“I feel very good about where we are right now,” says this senior administration official, who adds that the experience with health care has been so bruising that “we treat every day like you are starting all over again.” That’s why there is a great reluctance on the part of White House officials to claim any kind of victory. Progress is all they will claim.

Obamacare sign-ups jump to 3.3 million

The challenge, this source admits, is to try and maintain an equilibrium so the administration is considered competent, which, in turn, gives people faith the program will work. This source points to the Massachusetts model as an example: As time went on, more young people signed up.

The Congressional Budget Office originally estimated that the ACA would need 7 million enrolled by April 1 in order to work properly; that number was recently changed to between 6-7 million. So the questions remain: Can the administration get there, or even close? And if it does, what is the mix of the enrollees?

New delay ensures Obamacare to be issue in 2014, 2016 elections


Filed under: Obamacare • White House
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    Wonderful!! I'm thrilled the administration is encouraged!!! So by all means, have Obama go out an campaign for Senators Begich-AK, Landrieu-LA, Udall-CO, Hagen-NC, Shaheen-NH, TBD Clown-IA, New Clown-ND, Pryor-AR, and above all, Mr. "I'll vote present" Markey-MA.

    February 13, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Dean

    3.3 million enrolled does not translate to 3.3 million covered. You're not covered until you pay. And a large majority of the enrollees will be heavily subsidized by the taxpayers. Obamacare will be well short of target and eventually implode. The sooner, the better.

    February 13, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Silence DoGood

    "This source points to the Massachusetts model as an example: As time went on, more young people signed up."
    --------
    Hopefully, ACA will follow the same pattern. Especially after the heavily funded (Koch) campaign by conservatives in the campus beer cozy project to keep young people from signing up. I guess they didn't really believe their own myth about ACA failing on its own. News sources in Sept-Oct 2013.

    February 13, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. xray vision

    As long as insurance companies have a say in it, it will be bad, their used to huge profit margins, and refuse to let go of that . When your CEO makes an eight figure salary, he has no excuse for this BS, acting like their going bankrupt in order to protect his salary.

    February 13, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Donna

    One big unanswered question remains how satisfied insurance companies are with the latest results, and whether these numbers track with their expectations when they set their premiums for next year. If the numbers are generally on target, then there should be no premium shock; if they are not on target, there could be rate increases that would no doubt be unwelcome—both financially and politically.
    ----–

    Not to fear... Obama, dictator in training, will unilaterally mandate, direct and order that the premiums remain the same and that the government will reimburse the insurance companies BILLIONS, or Obama, dictator in training, will unilaterally mandate, direct and order that the premiums remain unchanged and the insurance companies go under from the losses.

    One thing is for certain, the truth will be totally concealed from the American people until after the 2014 election. Deceit, lies and obfuscation is all the Democrats have but the American people are finally figuring that out as they see and experience the Obamacare train wreck up close and personal.

    February 13, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. jerrylax

    What else would you expect the Administration to say? They have never been honest about ANYTHING concerning obama care…or anything else for that matter...

    February 13, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. More bad news..

    A couple of million signed up for Obamacare, and a couple of million lost their policies because of Obamacare.......gee, I wonder if there's a link?
    Hope & Change, Transparency = community organizer
    Obama has had 5yrs to affect change in the economy, the NSA spying, and the war on terror – what has he done?
    Nothing but divide America between party lines, pointing the finger instead of stepping up & making changes.

    February 13, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. Tommy G

    How many thousands or hundreds of thousands of these people signing up were doing so because Obamacare took away their previous healthcare plan? Of course, they will never ever disclose that information.

    And of course with the 27 delays or modifications made Obamacare by the little dictator, we still have no idea what the whole Obamacare train wreck will look like.

    February 13, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. just asking

    if everything was going so well, why did obama have to delay major portions of this law for political reasons? why all the changes and delays, always until just after the next election? obamacare is turning into a 6-7 year long train wreck for this country, for jobs and for the economy. the damage it is doing is unimaginable. demorcats sure know how to wreck a country and 1/6th of its economy.

    February 13, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. tom l

    And a large majority of the enrollees will be heavily subsidized by the taxpayers

    ====

    I helped my girlfriend sign up through the covered California website. She has a plan that costs $201 per month and is responsible for $1 and the government is paying the rest. Great for her but I honestly can't see how this is a good thing for the nation. There has to be a better way.

    February 13, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. tom l

    Ahhhh Silence, can you honestly give the Koch thing a rest ever? Do you even know anything about them? Do you know how much they have donated to charity?

    February 13, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. Tampa Tim

    Tom l – Can you honestly say you don't know anything about the Kochs? Really? I know you are sensitive, but, come on.

    February 13, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. Hector Slagg

    Income Equality, yes? I believe that was the plan in the old Soviet Union. I wonder what ever happened to them? There seems to be a problem in Oregon. So far no one has signed up. but keep on withe the "Good News" And remember, if you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period. More good news to come.

    February 13, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. Tampa Tim

    Tom- $1 for your girlfriend? I thought righties were paying $1000 monthly premiums and had $10,000 deductibles.

    February 13, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. Silence DoGood

    @tom l
    Ahhhh Silence, can you honestly give the Koch thing a rest ever? Do you even know anything about them? Do you know how much they have donated to charity?
    -----------
    And NASA helped put up the space station. But back on topic I notice you are not debating the "campus beer cozy project to keep young people from signing up".

    February 13, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    -tom l

    Ahhhh Silence, can you honestly give the Koch thing a rest ever? Do you even know anything about them? Do you know how much they have donated to charity?
    **************************
    Millions, but that is not the point. Why should a pair of brothers have a disproportionate amount of influence on our political process, other than the fact they can write a check for more than what most people make in a year? Why are they beyond criticism? FYI, you are bringing up the Kochs far more than anyone.

    February 13, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. Tommy G

    tom l
    Ahhhh Silence, can you honestly give the Koch thing a rest ever? Do you even know anything about them? Do you know how much they have donated to charity?
    -–

    The leftists always need somebody to demonize, the mythical big bad boogieman under the bed. It helps explain away all of their failures because surely, they could have failed on their own due to their own, self proclaimed superior intelligence.

    February 13, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Silence DoGood

    @Dean
    3.3 million enrolled does not translate to 3.3 million covered. You're not covered until you pay.
    ----------
    Oh my goodness, you have to PAY for your policy. That is terrible, we never had to do that before. Oh yeah we did.

    February 13, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    -just asking

    if everything was going so well, why did obama have to delay major portions of this law for political reasons? why all the changes and delays, always until just after the next election? obamacare is turning into a 6-7 year long train wreck for this country, for jobs and for the economy. the damage it is doing is unimaginable. demorcats sure know how to wreck a country and 1/6th of its economy.
    ******************
    Yes, the damage is unimagineable, but only in your imagination. Nice exercise in fantasy fiction.

    February 13, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Gurgyl

    The very problem in USA is this Law is signed by black man. Nothing problem other than this. Well, these rethuglicans digest this hard core pill or not–ACA is a Law. This Law, this nation has been needed for generations. Why didn't they cry when Hospitals flatly deny access to patients without insurance, and pre-existing condition patients flatly denied by insurance guys? Why didn't their Reagan, Bush pass such an important Law? Enough. Take this pill–USA will be alright. In due course, even premiums will be cut down–then insurance companies drop down too. God bless!!!!

    February 13, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Tampa Tim

    Just – How's that math coming. While the republican health plan is simple and does not require signing up or having insurance, ACA is a bit more complex. Wingnuts gave the Bush drug plan a year to work, so be patient. 45 million, large businesses, small businesses, seniors and poor require something other than the republican one size fits all, "If you get sick, you die."

    February 13, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. Silence DoGood

    So to summarize some of these conservative rants, Obama is a dictator and has done nothing. Think about it.

    February 13, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. Gurgyl

    Bush, Dick Cheney are DICTATORS–not Obama, nor Clinton. Ask Hiliburton.

    February 13, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "There has to be a better way."

    You'll like them even less.

    February 13, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. Silence DoGood

    @xray vision
    As long as insurance companies have a say in it, it will be bad, their used to huge profit margins, and refuse to let go of that . When your CEO makes an eight figure salary, he has no excuse for this BS, acting like their going bankrupt in order to protect his salary.
    -----------–
    Well this is forcing a break-up of the price-fixing functional monopoly the insurance companies have. I have already seen a couple quotes form the industry saying they would be cost cutting internally. Nothing wrong with profit. Something wrong with price-fixing and denying millions of people ANY coverage that they wanted to buy before ACA came along.

    February 13, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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