According to figures updated Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Obamacare has now managed to “enroll” 3.3 million people via online health exchanges established under the law.
But, as has been the case since the Affordable Care Act went into effect last October, that number doesn’t reflect the amount of paying customers — just the total number of people who went fantasy shopping. It reflects shopping carts, not checkouts.
According to HHS, 1.15 million people went Obamacare shopping in January, compared with 1.8 million who browsed a health exchange in December of 2013. That’s a drop-off of more than 600,000.
Because HHS continues to refuse divulging the number of people who’ve actually signed on the dotted line (actually, the department spuriously claims it doesn’t know the number), the new statistics are as meaningless as the old ones.
But one thing the numbers do tell us is that people are losing interest in even taking the first steps toward enrolling in plans that are typically overpriced, undervalued, exposed to fraud and — thanks to unreliable websites and shifting information from an incompetent deployment staff — unpredictable in their promise of coverage or rate stability.
The Obama Administration had projected 7 million paid enrollees by March 31, the nationwide enrollment deadline for Obamacare’s inaugural year. At this rate, the President and HHS will be lucky if it exceeds half of that.
Don’t forget: A substantial portion of HHS’ numbers reflect people who signed up for free insurance under Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid rule. That’s great for them (and HHS is certainly eager to count them), but they add not 1 cent to the pool of money that’s supposed to subsidize the entire program. They’re “taking” customers, not paying ones.
Expect talk of massive government bailouts for insurers… once the Congressional midterm elections have passed.