White House appears to scale-back expectations for younger Obamacare signups
February 25th, 2014
05:35 PM ET
8 months ago

White House appears to scale-back expectations for younger Obamacare signups

(CNN) - The Obama administration appears to be scaling back its expectations for enrollment of young adults under the Affordable Care Act.

For months, administration officials embraced estimates by the Congressional Budget Office anticipating 2.7 million of the 7 million enrollees under Obamacare by the end of March would be people between the ages of 18 and 34, or nearly 40 % of the total.

The overall metric is critical for making the program work economically. The larger the pool of healthy, younger people paying premiums, the lower the cost of providing coverage for older, sicker enrollees.

Asked by reporters about the 40% threshold, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the figure applies to the number of "uninsured who are young people."

"That's a little different from what you would need for the exchanges to have the demographic mix that's necessary for them to function effectively," Carney said.

Referring to the latest figures from the Department of Health and Human Services, Carney said youth enrollment currently stands at 27 percent.

"That is entirely consistent with where Massachusetts was," Carney said, pointing that state's health care system that served as the prototype for Obamacare.

Asked about Carney's comments, a White House official cited a different metric from Massachusetts as a potential milestone.

"If you look at (Massachusetts), they never got above 34 percent in any given month as to the share of enrollees who were young adults and that was considered a successful risk pool," the official said.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, a chief critic of Obamacare, accused the White House of trying to move the goal posts.

"Obamacare enrollment goals are melting away as quickly as the law’s deadlines. Youth enrollment has been a bust so far, and trying to whitewash stated benchmarks won’t change that," Brendan Buck said.

Buck referred to an article in The Atlantic, which cited a Powerpoint presentation by administration officials using the CBO's youth enrollment figures.

"That is/was/has been the target they set," Buck said.

White House officials note younger enrollment has accelerated in recent weeks, arguing that will improve the program's viability over time.

The administration has tried to lower expectations for this key metric for several weeks.

At a background briefing with reporters in January, administration officials argued Obamacare does not need to reach enrollment of 2.7 million young adults by the end of March to achieve a "sustainable market."


Filed under: Obama administration • Obamacare
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. just asking

    you simply cannot believe anything the obama administration says, especially jay carney, hired liar. they are winning a record number of four pinnochio awards with all their statements and numbers. they honestly think they can lie and deceive the american people forever.

    February 25, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    ""That's a little different from what you would need for the exchanges to have the demographic mix that's necessary for them to function effectively," "

    Indeed it is, but don't worry, the MSM will help the GOP/Teatrolls completely obliterate the distinction and prevent anyone from understanding what we're talking about here.

    February 25, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    TRUST "Me"
    "I" am NOT a liar

    Young people are signing up in droves for "My" OBAMACARE

    Dictionary . com

    liar:
    a person who has lied or lies repeatedly

    TRUST "ME"

    "I" will close GITMO

    "I" will veto ALL earmarks

    "I" will CUT the deficit it half

    "I" will make the sea jump back

    “I” will cut the cost of health care

    "I" will get un-employment under 5%

    “I” will LET you keep the Dr. you like

    "I" will NOT raise your taxes; NOT by one dime

    "I" will go line by line through the budget and cut

    “I” will end fraud waste and abuse in government programs

    "I" will end Red State – Blue State and just have United States

    "I" will have the most transparent administration in American history

    “I” will support and defend The Constitution of the United States of America

    FORWARD >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >
    To " T R U T H " in "MY" administration !!!

    February 25, 2014 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    This terrible, an estimate is being scaled back. I remember Bush and Cheney estimating our war in Iraq would be one month long. They missed their estimate by 9 years 11 months, but this is the ACA.

    February 25, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    @just asking, you from this area? Four pinnochio awards?
    What the problem might be is that young people, who are NOT on their parents work insurance until the age of 26, might be working themselves and they have insurance.
    Then there's the we are young and invincible and fools who think they can't get sick or break a bone or get cancer.
    When I was that young I never thought of health insurance as my main concern. Unfortunately some of them will find out the hard way.

    February 25, 2014 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  6. rs

    just asking
    you simply cannot believe anything the obama administration says, especially jay carney, hired liar. they are winning a record number of four pinnochio awards with all their statements and numbers. they honestly think they can lie and deceive the american people forever.
    _____________
    I can't believe that even though millions of Americans have signed up for health insurance (many for the first time) and medicaid through the ACA that you and your sort keep banging that pathetic drum. It's over. It's law. It works. As your side completely whiffed on alternatives- give up already. You have nothing. It is getting very lame.

    Hey, ever hear of a place called Benghazi?

    February 25, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Did any one get to see Chick Cheney's outrage that our military budget will be lowered to only $50 billion more than the combined military budgets of the next ten highest countries. The 10 countries spend $650 billion combined and we spend over $700 billion. He made food stamps the culprit even though we have veterans on food stamps.
    Halliburton profits should be our last priority. Go home Dick.

    February 25, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. CALIFORNIA

    Democrats, always trying to change history.

    February 25, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  9. don in albuquerque

    just asking

    Is that really the best you can do every day??? He lies, she lies, they lie, Benghazzzzzzzzzziiiii!!!!! Broaden your horizons a little. At least they give statements and numbers, which you always fail to do.

    February 25, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  10. Matt

    What do you expect when you say a person 26 years old is still considered a child on their parents policy.I guess they just dont have a government ID which is required by law to sign up for Obamacare and receive treatment.

    February 25, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  11. Harold Read

    Obamacare is in it's Death Spiral.
    It heavily relied on young health people to bear the costs and burdens of the law. Now that young people are not signing up, Obamacare is unsustainable.
    Option 1: continue to deceive people with fake enrollment numbers
    Option 2: emphasize the "IRS will fine you into oblivion if you don't sign up" that is written into Obamacare
    Option 3: further destroy the middle class by taxing everyone until Obamacare can work
    Option 4: keep on illegally moving the enrollment deadlines

    February 25, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  12. Wes

    obama is a liar.

    February 25, 2014 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. NC

    I am surprised it is as high as 27%. The 18-34 year age group need the money for the latest new cell phone and won't leave their parent's home.

    February 25, 2014 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  14. LacrosseMom

    No worries the younger Americans......tend to procrastinate! They will sign up. Trust me!

    The SUCCESS of the ACA is the worst nightmare ever for the failed GOP!!!

    February 25, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. Neutral Observer

    Sniffit, "the MSM will help the GOP/....." Are you on crack?? If it weren't for the MSM, Obama neber would have been elected, Obamacare never would have passed and it would now be Hillary messing everything up

    February 25, 2014 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  16. Neutral Observer

    More debt, more debt and still more debt. Many have asked about Obama's "broken promise" of keeping your plan. What about all the other quick answers given to get that thing through?? Death panels, rationing??? Face it folks, in order to make everyone equal, this admins plan to make it so everyone has nothing. We'll all be equal then. Is it really a surprise thought?? Typically, if there is a really good perk, everyone wants in on it. Wasn't anyone suspicious when in order to get this passed, groups (entities) were demanding not to be let in but to be let out of it?? The unions: "oh, this is a great plan, what?? it applies to us too?? wait, no, we're not for it unless we don't have to sign up for it!!

    February 25, 2014 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  17. Chris-E...al

    I Have never seen laws change so much ! I did'nt no one man obama could change law ? An speaking of law ! How can Eric H give guns to many guns to criminals like trowing candy at a parade .Fast an furious ! And tell banks t0 take cash from pot sales against fed law! an tell DA's across this nation to do this do that ! This is lieing under the oath they took win they were sworn in ! its not rite 4 a dem or a repub. an its n0t a fair ! We all wo0d be in jail for way less ! how in gods name could anyone approve of this. thx

    February 25, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  18. tim

    wow, with laws like this...who needs any new ones. just morph the existing laws or ignore them altogether. Now, this is a nation of laws no one can rely upon. Saw the red light, thought it only meant stop yesterday....Tuesdays....even years.

    February 25, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. Jim

    I grew up with a generation of Americans who believed education and hard work were the keys to a successful future. I also grew up with the ability to think and decide for myself, as opposed to believing everything people tell me. Seems as if there's a whole generation of Americans who will believe just about anything, as long as they can continue to get subsidized housing, welfare, food stamps and anything else Obama wants to give away in exchange for a vote. Honestly who would believe Jay Carney, Susan Rice, Joe Biden, you can keep your plan if you like it......................

    February 25, 2014 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  20. badtobone

    It's like the president red line. Always moving

    February 25, 2014 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  21. tom l

    So Sniffit, just what are we talking about? As best as I can see it we're talking about simple math. Plain and simple as you have said time and again. 27% is not what the administration said their goal was. They said it over and over. That number is i67% of what their stated goal was. If it changes than you can say that. But why do you feel compelled to defend every single thing about this? It's like you're taking it personally. 27 is not 40. It's not even close. Not to mention how far short of actual enrollees even through their coercion and mandating the American public to sign up. We're not calling YOUR baby ugly, Sniffit. Stop taking it so personally

    February 25, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  22. Crystal

    It seems like they've been moving a lot of goal posts with this program.

    February 25, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  23. DC

    My wife and I fit in the 18-34 demographic in this article. Our annual premiums in an Obamacare health care exchange are over $18000 for a family of 4. Obviously we are do not fit into any of the federal assistance categories, but to put things in perspective the cost is approximately the same as our cobra payments were except no vision or dental coverage. For those who aren't aware cobra premiums are generally looked upon as very expensive. I work with a guy who is a few years younger then me, and the premiums for him and his wife are triple what they used to be. Consequently, he is becoming a permanent employee (instead of a contractor) of the company we work for due to the significant change in cost. This defeats the whole ideology behind the exchanges especially since he and his wife are healthy, young, and well paid. I understand the concept of what the President is trying to accomplish, and generally agree with the principles behind it. Unfortunately, the execution didn't go as planned initially, insurance companies automatically dropped cost effective plans for the young and healthy in order to compensate for the expected losses on the elderly and sickly, punishment for the uninsured who can afford coverage does not fully kick in until later which gives them minimal incentive to join until the system is already struggling, and already struggling small hospitals are already noticing that the money which they contributed to the system is not seeing a ROI. The most frustrating part of the whole thing is that it did little to fix the horrendously bureaucratic, wasteful, non-customer-centric. and sometimes downright evil system which exists between the medical industry and the insurance companies. I'm not trying to say that with some data driven analysis and intelligent changes it could be fixed, but things are not off to a good start.

    February 25, 2014 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  24. Chris Asking Question

    So...if the Obama Administration can't meet with its requirements or federal laws, it changes them?

    February 25, 2014 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  25. RWB1956

    just asking

    you simply cannot believe anything the obama administration says, especially jay carney, hired liar. they are winning a record number of four pinnochio awards with all their statements and numbers. they honestly think they can lie and deceive the american people forever. I'd believe them before I'd believe you. I'll bet you call yourself a patriot when all you are is a Kool-Aid drinker. This gets tiring. If you don't like the way this country is run get out. Now give me some internet bravado.

    February 25, 2014 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
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