Obamacare hits major milestone

President Obama says health insurance enrollments through state or federal exchanges has topped 6 million

Topics: Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, Sam Stein, The Huffington Post, health insurance, Health care reform, Barack Obama, Medicaid, death spiral, ,

Obamacare hits major milestone (Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

Despite healthcare.gov’s infamously awful rollout and plenty of other glitches, minor and major, along the way, President Obama announced on a conference call on Thursday that the number of people who have secured health insurance through Obamacare has topped 6 million.

According to the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, the number is in part a reflection of increased interest in the law, now that March 31 the deadline for enrollment is mere days away. While initial estimates of Obamacare sign-ups before the deadline were around 7 million, the federal exchange website’s disastrous debut caused policymakers to revise their expectations. By this new standard, sign-ups are exceeding expectations. Since March 17, there have been an average of 100,000 enrollees per day.



Still, the 6 million figure does not differentiate between those who have signed up and those who have signed up and already paid their first month’s premium. In addition, policymakers still don’t yet know the exact demographic breakdown of enrollees. In order for Obamacare to work, there must be enough young and healthy enrollees to keep premiums from rising and the overall program from entering into the dreaded “death spiral.” The number of people who have gained health insurance via Medicaid or directly through their private insurer is not yet know, either.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith, and email him at eisquith@salon.com.

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