Almost 365,000 Americans have “enrolled” in the ObamaCare exchanges, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
That number is far below the Obama administration’s impending goal of enrolling 3 million people by the end of December and 7 million by the end of March. But the true number of people who have actually purchased insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges is even smaller. Instead of reporting on actual enrollments, the administration is, instead, reporting on the number of people who have put a health plan in their checkout cart, but haven’t actually checked out.
The distinction is important. As anyone who has ever shopped online knows, putting something in an online shopping cart is not the same thing as actually buying it.
The Obama administration was aiming to enroll 3 million Americans – defined as “obtaining coverage” – by the end of the year. According to the administration, there are just more than 365,000 people who put a plan in their cart through the end of November. Even if every single one of these applicants actually purchased a policy, the Obama administration would have hit only 20 percent of its first month’s goal.
In Illinois, only 7,000 people had enrolled in ObamaCare exchanges through the end of November. Federal officials hope to enroll more than 100,000 by year’s end and about 237,000 Illinoisans by the end of March.
At the current pace, it would take Illinois more than a decade to reach its 2014 target.
This low level, whether attributed to website obstacles or lack of demand, is a cause for alarm for two reasons. First, if these enrollment trends continue, the exchange will almost certainly face an insurance death spiral, where older and sicker patients are far more motivated to enroll, driving up prices further.
Second, the number of people losing their health insurance coverage in the individual and small group markets as a result of ObamaCare could leave the state with a higher uninsured rate.
The Obama administration feels seemingly few constraints in its marketing claims: If you like your health insurance, you can keep it; Enrolling in ObamaCare will be a lot like shopping for flights on Travelocity; and, now, look at how many people have enrolled (or may enroll at some future date) in ObamaCare!
ObamaCare was touted as an effort to dramatically expand health insurance coverage. It is, instead, a costly and damaging scheme for the entire health care system and the nation. The numbers show what many of us already knew: Americans aren’t “buying” it.