As Deadline Approaches, Obamacare Sign-Ups Top 6 Million

Many questions remain about what this number means, though, including how many of those enrolling in new coverage had been uninsured before signing up and whether young and healthy people will be adequately represented.

The New York Times: White House Says Health Care Rolls Top Goal: 6 Million
The White House said on Thursday that more than six million people had signed up for medical insurance plans under President Obama’s health care law, exceeding the administration’s revised goal for enrollment by the Monday deadline. Demand for new policies has surged in recent days as the open enrollment period draws to a close, the White House said, with 1.5 million visits to HealthCare.gov and 430,000 calls to the program’s call centers on Wednesday alone. The enrollment figure is up from five million a week ago (Joachim, 3/27).

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Sign-Ups Top Six Million, White House Says
But left unclear was how many of those signing up had been uninsured—a key aim of the law—and whether they include many of the young and mostly healthy Americans needed to keep costs in check, and whether those signing up have actually paid premiums to bring the insurance coverage into effect (Radnofsky and McCain Nelson, 3/27).

Los Angeles Times: More Than 6 Million People Have Signed Up For Obamacare
That number, though shy of the 7 million sign-ups the administration had once hoped for, marks a significant milestone because 6 million was the projection for this year's enrollment made last month by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The figure also further underscores the strong recovery that the marketplaces have made since their disastrous debut last fall, potentially quieting concerns that the new system would fail to get a large-enough pool of consumers to work as planned (Hennessey and Levey, 3/27).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Obama Announces 6 Million Have Signed Up For Insurance
President Barack Obama, who is traveling in Europe, announced the number in a conference call with groups that are helping consumers sign up for coverage. In a blog post, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said the health law’s web site, healthcare.gov, and 800 number, had near record traffic Wednesday, with 1.5 million visitors and more than 430,000 phone calls (Carey, 3/27).

The Washington Post: Obamacare Sign-Ups Now Exceed 6 Million
The administration originally expected 7 million to buy health plans during the law’s initial six-month enrollment period but revised its target to 6 million after the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov, the federal Web site (Eilperin, 3/27).

USA Today: HHS Hits 6 Million Health Care Enrollment Mark
But until the government releases demographics, numbers of those who have paid their premiums, and numbers of those newly insured, the number "enrolled" won't tell a complete story, said Brendan Buck, press secretary for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "They won't say how many have paid, so the number is likely significantly lower," Buck said. "And every survey has shown most people who've signed up already had coverage, so they're not actually newly insured" (Kennedy, 3/27).

Reuters: Obamacare Enrollment Tops Six Million As Deadline Looms: White House
The milestone gives the White House some ammunition to counter Republican critics, who have described the program as an expensive flop in the build-up to midterm congressional campaigns in November, when Democratic control of the U.S. Senate is at stake (Rampton, 3/28).

NBC News: White House Says 6 Million Now Signed Up For Health Insurance
President Barack Obama told volunteers and navigators helping sign people up that 1.5 million people visited HealthCare.gov on Wednesday – the highest-traffic day yet. Officials have said they logged more than a million visits each day so far this week. "We are seeing near-record numbers of consumers coming to check out their options and enroll in coverage. Yesterday alone, we had 1.5 million visits to HealthCare.gov and took more than 430,000 calls at our 24/7 call center," said Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which operated the website (Fox, 3/28).

Politico: Obamacare Enrollments: White House Says 6 Million Signed Up For Coverage
With outreach by both officials and their allies in high gear, the White House can expect the tally to keep climbing — especially as it announced this week that it would allow extra time and assistance for anyone who self-reported hitting a snag as they tried to sign up by Monday (Epstein and Kenen, 3/28).

Politico: The Obamacare Report Card
If you’re a supporter of the law, you might be cringing right now — you know the areas where the grade is not going to be good. It’s pretty obvious that the Obama administration wasn’t ready for the launch, despite three and a half years to prepare. The political messaging hasn’t impressed anyone; Democrats are scampering away from what was supposed to be a legacy achievement. No one’s going to forget that notion that everyone could keep their plans. But the critics will have to round out their picture of the law, too. The signups have now hit 6 million — a feat that seemed impossible in the worst days of the website failures — and the administration’s outreach efforts are better than they used to be. And although there are lots of complaints about the prices, some low-income customers seem to be genuinely happy with the rates and subsidies they’re getting (Nather, 3/28).

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