March 28th, 2014
07:59 AM ET
6 years ago

Inside Politics Speed Read: 6 million enrollments tells us very little about Obamacare

Wow! Right? Maybe not: Here’s what we know: More than 6 million people have signed up for private coverage on insurance exchanges set up through Obamacare.

Here’s what we don’t know: pretty much anything else.

The 6 million doesn’t account for the low-income people who have enrolled in Medicaid or the people who couldn’t enroll in Medicaid because their states chose not to participate.

Finally, the administration has not said who these 6 million people are. Are they young or old? How many of them have paid their premiums? Will insurance companies have to dramatically raise premiums next year? These are key questions that will be needed to put the 6 million in its proper perspective and give Obamacare a full checkup.

This is either a remarkable turnaround or another example of failure, depending on who you talk to. That’s the politics of Obamacare.

As CNN's Christine Romans said this morning, the 6 million figure “exceeds lowered expectations.”

Unpack that phrase.

That expectation was lowered to 6 million after the epic failure of the insurance exchange rollout back in October. So hitting 6 million enrollments is amazing when you view it through the lens of October, when people who desperately wanted to enroll could not.

But it is a million short of the original expectation. From an insurance policy standpoint, it probably doesn’t even matter that much.

Obamacare is a national law, but it plays out at the local level. And it is on the local level that Obamacare will succeed or fail. Insurance exchanges are administered at the state level and insurance pools are divided into even smaller groupings. Many states administering their own exchanges are doing well. States - most of them red ones - that chose to rely on the federal government have far lower enrollment.

Christie won’t change: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans his first news conference in months. It comes the day after an internal review said he didn’t recall being told about those political payback bridge lane closings last September. But he already told ABC News the scandal won’t change his leadership style.

“I am who I am,” he told Diane Sawyer. “At core, I am a passionate, loving, caring, direct, truth teller. And for some people, they love it.”

Christie denies knowing, calls former staffers 'stupid': Christie says the toxic environment in his office that apparently led to the George Washington Bridge lane shutdowns is news to him and he did nothing to create it.

"I don’t think anyone would take that as an indication to do something so incredibly stupid," he told Sawyer.

"You asked if I contributed to a climate,” he said. “I don’t believe that I did."

He was shocked, he said, to learn of the lane closures.

"It defies credulity to me. Which is why when things were first reported, I said, 'This can't possibly be true.' Because who would do something like that? Sometimes, people do inexplicably stupid things," he said.

Lawyers appointed by Christie released their own internal review that found the governor did nothing wrong.

Internal Probe: Christie doesn’t recall being told of traffic jams

Christie probe gets personal with Bridget Kelly: That probe, by the way, is coming under some fire for the way it portrays Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, who joked with a Port Authority official about the lane closure.

She is described as “emotional” after the report implies an affair with Christie’s campaign manager went south.

Kate Zernike and David Chen write in The New York Times: “The report raises these details but does not explain how or why they would have prompted her to send the damning email. It simply concludes that “events in her personal life may have had some bearing on her subjective motivations and state of mind.”

Biden: The undocumented are already Americans: Democrats want to kickstart stalled efforts to enact immigration reform. The main sticking point is - as it has long been - whether the millions of undocumented  in this country should be given a pathway to citizenship.

Vice President Joe Biden, in a way that only Joe Biden can, said citizenship is a state of mind as well as a legal term.

“You know, 11 million people that are living in the shadows. I believe they’re already Americans citizens,” Biden said. “These people are just waiting, waiting for a chance to be able to contribute fully. And by that standard, 11 million undocumented aliens are already Americans in my view.”

Citing the contribution Hispanics have made to the American economy, Biden stressed the importance of passing immigration reform sooner rather than later, arguing, “It’s the single most significant thing we can do. It’s a game-changer financially for the country.”

Kentucky’s McConnell bedeviled by Duke flub: CNN’s Political Editor Paul Steinhauser reports that Sen. Mitch McConnell's conservative primary challenger is hoping to score some points off of a highly publicized mistake by the Senate Minority Leader's re-election team.

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, hoping to boost his underdog challenge against McConnell in Kentucky's May Republican primary, is going up with a TV commercial today that pokes fun at Web video released earlier this week by the senator's campaign that included a clip of a team wearing blue uniforms celebrating a national championship in men's basketball.

The major problem was that the team wasn't the Kentucky Wildcats, but instead the Duke University Blue Devils. There's little love among Kentucky college basketball fans for the powerhouse Atlantic Coast Conference school from North Carolina.

Update: This post originally misidentified Medicaid as Medicare.


Filed under: Chris Christie • Mitch McConnell • Obamacare
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Tommy G

    The 6 million doesn’t account for the low-income people who have enrolled in Medicare or the people who couldn’t enroll in Medicare because their states chose not to participate.
    ---

    aaaahhh.... shouldn't this be Medicaid, not Medicare???

    March 28, 2014 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    The 6 million doesn’t account for the low-income people who have enrolled in Medicare or the people who couldn’t enroll in Medicare because their states chose not to participate.
    -----------------------------------
    What's Obmacare? Secondly, it's Medicaid not Medicare! Any more baseless stories to report today?

    March 28, 2014 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  3. Harold Read

    The enrollment goal was 7 million. Obamacare still has failed to achieve this goal.

    How many people actually paid?
    How many times was the deadline moved?

    You need to take these factors into account to make any valid or credible statements about Obamacare's "success"
    However, ObamaBots are always willing to look past facts

    March 28, 2014 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    The 6 million doesn’t account for the low-income people who have enrolled in Medicare or the people who couldn’t enroll in Medicare because their states chose not to participate.
    ----------------------------–
    I'm still very curious about two numbers. How many people actually lost all coverage because of the ACA compared to how many people are being denied coverage by Republican governors who refuse to expand Medicaid.

    March 28, 2014 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  5. just asking

    Inside Politics Speed Read: 6 million enrollments tells us very little about Obmacare
    ------

    obmacare??? how about some speed proof reading cnn!!

    March 28, 2014 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    It tells us, the WH is lying to us........yet AGAIN!

    March 28, 2014 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  7. HenryMiller

    "Here’s what we know: More than 6 million people have signed up for private coverage on insurance exchanges set up through Obamacare."

    No, we don't even know that. We have the Obama's administration's word about that 6 million number, but the Obama administration doesn't have a terribly good track-record when it comes to truth. And, in the case of Obamacare, they have huge incentive to lie.

    March 28, 2014 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. Tony

    "The 6 million doesn’t account for the low-income people who have enrolled in Medicare or the people who couldn’t enroll in Medicare because their states chose not to participate."

    If you are on Medicare, you don't need to enroll in the ACA, also know as Obamacare. You meant Medicaid, but the 6 million does not include people who get on Medicaid either. The number includes only those who have signed up for private health insurance plans.

    From Reuters:

    "More than 6 million people have now signed up for private insurance plans under President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law known as Obamacare, reflecting a surge in enrollments days before the March 31 deadline, the White House said on Thursday."

    March 28, 2014 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Obmacare".
    That was part of your headline CNN...
    In other news....
    " Christie says the toxic environment in his office that apparently led to the George Washington Bridge lane shutdowns is news to him and he did nothing to create it."
    Now he's not even responsible for the "toxic environment in his office".
    If not he then who?
    Who sets the tone in your office Mr. Governor, the janitor?
    The fish stinks from the head down Gov.

    March 28, 2014 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  10. Enough is Enough

    Let's review....how many of these folks didn't have insurance before and how many have actually paid the first premium? I know that these are really difficult concepts for some of you but they are very important for the discussion. Besides, I thought there were 47 million uninsured Americans who were going to be rushing to the exchanges to get insurance.....guess that was not quite accurate, huh?

    March 28, 2014 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  11. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross......

    I can tell you what we do know....Fox-lite wants the ACA to fail.

    March 28, 2014 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    It tells us, the WH is lying to us........yet AGAIN!
    -------------------------–
    Uh. They're trying to make your head explode?

    March 28, 2014 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  13. just asking

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross......
    I can tell you what we do know....Fox-lite wants the ACA to fail.
    --

    any sane person can plainly see this disaster is failing all on its own. it needs no help in failing.

    it would have totally imploded by now had obama not illegally changed the law 38 times, and counting. most of those changes made for political reasons because to implement the law as passed is going to do even more damage to this country, to people and to our healthcare system. and obama wants to make sure that doesn't happen right before the 2014 & 2016 elections.

    yes, it is just wonderful that now, because of obamacare, my healthcare is subject to politicians and political cycles. who in their right mind would ever want this?! only insane lefties it appears.

    March 28, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  14. smith

    ACA has 6 million enrolled, but it`s mainly the low income, elderly folks, and people with pre-existing conditions. This is not good, next year premiums will skyrocket. It`s time to admit this law has failed and make the proper changes to fix it.

    March 28, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  15. Dar

    Enrollment = 6 million. ENROLLMENT PEOPLE, not paid policies!
    If you enroll and you find that you cant afford the premiums, people simply will do without. Even if the government touts this as a grandiose move for ACA, we all know that it is BS. Even the Dem's who hope and pray that this works to save their behind's know that the figure's are false, but hope that the Kool-Aid drinkers buy into it.
    Will the Dems ever tell the truth? Will the Repub's lie about the figures? HECK YES, they both will.
    Take it or leave it, this junky ACA is here to stay people, Live with it and save your breath for something else.

    March 28, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  16. Tommy G

    So they claim to have signed up about the same number of people for healthcare plans, that Obamacare CANCELLED. And somehow we are to believe this is "Mission Accomplished"???

    And all this cost was total chaos in one sixth of our economy, 21 new taxes and all of not knowing from one day to the next what the Obama administration was going to do to change the law without Congressional passage of laws to change this ACA fiasco.

    November!!! November!!! Come quickly, you are our only salvation.

    March 28, 2014 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  17. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross......

    Actually just spewing lies and hate any sane person would know billionaires wouldn't have to spend millions on lying ads if it was going to fail on its own.

    March 28, 2014 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  18. Tampa Tim

    It appears the right wingnuts want 6 million names, and they want them now!

    March 28, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  19. Tampa Tim

    A wingnut asked about junk policies and why they were bad? According to Forbes,

    "Known as "mini-meds" or "junk insurance," these products often are little more than discount cards that can leave unknowing consumers with huge medical debt. Even a policy expert from the conservative Heritage Foundation, no fan of the Affordable Care Act, says they aren't worth keeping."

    March 28, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Take it or leave it, this junky ACA is here to stay people, Live with it and save your breath for something else
    -------------------------------------------------
    Like everything else that's been put out there it still needs tweaking.
    No one is denying that.
    But you're right. It is NOT going anywhere. No matter how many votes the House wastes trying to repeal, dismantel it, or how many screaming neenees complain about it on this "outlet" site.
    I wholeheartedly agree with you Dar: save your breath for something else.
    Plenty of other stuff going on that we can actually impact.

    March 28, 2014 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  21. Tony

    For people who are wondering what the signup number means, Charles Gaba has done excellent work on ACA signups. Google "ACA signups."

    March 28, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It defies credulity to me. Which is why when things were first reported, I said, 'This can't possibly be true.' Because who would do something like that? Sometimes, people do inexplicably stupid things," he said."

    Oh, Chris Christie. If only YOU understood just how "inexplicably stupid" YOU (and your legal eagles) are beginning to sound. President Mitt Romney will remind you ... NEVER, EVER take your fellow citizens (and their votes) for granted.

    Oh, and by the way: that love you're feeling in Iowa? It ain't there. Not for you. Not now. Not ever.

    March 28, 2014 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  23. just saying

    and now the democrats are talking about various plans to 'fix' obamacare. but we have been told there is no reason to fix it and it just needs to get implemented and magically we will all see how wonderful it is. obama and reid have flatly stated they won't allow the law to be changed (except for what obama does on his own, illegally and for purely politcial reasons).

    one of the proposed changes is a 'copper plan' option. it is an even lower priced option (but aca was supposed to already be affordable!) that looks like it is exactly what the democrats called junk plans, the ones that obamacare required to be cancelled. how insane is this? it is clear the democrats are totally clueless and have no idea what they are doing. and yet they want to control your healthcare and one sixth of our economy.

    March 28, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  24. smith

    @Tampa Tim-So a plan that is 70/30(meaning the insurance co. pays 70%), no deductible, 25/40/300 co-pay that goes towards your 30%, $500,000 yearly limit, and $20 for basic meds with no deductible for $71 a month is a junk policy? That was my policy before it was scrapped.

    March 28, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    smith
    ACA has 6 million enrolled, but it`s mainly the low income, elderly folks, and people with pre-existing conditions. This is not good, next year premiums will skyrocket. It`s time to admit this law has failed and make the proper changes to fix it
    -------------------------------------------------
    Premiums go up regardless smith.
    You seem to be assuming that young people will NEVER sign up for Obamacare.
    That group is being pretty heavily targeted through marketing right now.
    Those that are currently covered under their parent's plan will turn 26 eventually.
    I agree that the ACA is not perfect, neither was Medicare nor Social Security when it first came out the box.
    But I will tell you that I know enough folks who are benefitting from no-caps and not being able to be turned down because of a pre-existing condition for me to say that I'm glad the law was passed even with all of it's imperfections.

    March 28, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
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