After All That, the White House Meets Its Original Obamacare Enrollment Goal

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 1 2014 2:21 PM

After All That, the White House Meets Its Original Obamacare Enrollment Goal

481753537-norma-licciardello-sits-with-an-agent-from-sunshine
Norma Licciardello sits with an agent from Sunshine Life and Health Advisors as they wait for the Affordable Care Act website to come back on line as she tries to purchases a health insurance plan at a store setup in the Mall of Americas on March 31, 2014 in Miami, Florida

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Obamacare's open enrollment numbers are in, via Washington Post:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The White House announced Tuesday that more than 7 million Americans have signed up for health plans under the Affordable Care Act, marking a sharp turnaround for a federal campaign to sell the nation on new health insurance from disastrous beginnings six months ago.
The tally — 7.04 million — is based on the number of people who enrolled in health plans through the new federal insurance marketplace operating in three dozen states by the deadline of midnight on Monday, plus the enrollments from 14 state-run marketplaces as of March 30.
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And don't forget: that figure could still climb given yesterday's deadline wasn't really a deadline. Regardless, the current total represents a rather stunning reversal for President Obama and his landmark health care law. Only about 4.2 million people had signed up for coverage at the end of February—a total which didn't reach 5 million until about two weeks ago, nor exceed 6 million until March 27, according to the White House's count.

The 6-million figure was seen as a significant, if largely symbolic, victory for the White House because it matched the most recent CBO projections. Today's numbers, however, remove the asterisk that accompanied that earlier victory because the new total meets the original CBO estimates from before healthcare.gov's horrendous roll-out, a figure that was originally embraced by the administration and its like-minded allies. Still, as a reminder: While the total number of enrollees is serving as shorthand for the law's success, the more pressing issue may be the breakdown of just how many young—presumably healthy—Americans sign up for the exchange. We don't have those numbers yet.

Look for President Obama to take a victory lap during a planned speech from the Rose Garden at 4:15 p.m. ET.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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