Obamacare Sign-Ups Top 6 Million, But Is That a Sign of Success?

Monday, 31 Mar 2014 04:58 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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There have been 6 million sign-ups for Obamacare through HealthCare.gov, and the deadline to do so is coming to a close Monday. But is 6 million enough to signal success?

The White House says so but others aren't so sure.

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Critics are standing by their opinions that Obamacare is failing, but it's likely one statistic isn’t enough to assess the law’s success or failure.

The Christian Science Monitor offered three questions that need to be considered about Obamacare: “1. Is the share of Americans who are uninsured falling considerably? 2. Does the pricing of insurance remain affordable for people hwo shop on the Obamacare marketplaces (also called exchanges)? 3. Do people feel positively about the healthcare they end up getting under the law?”

Drew Altman, with the Kaiser Family Foundation, wrote an article titled “Obamacare: The Metrics in the News Are Mostly Wrong,” and pointed out that better metrics are going to take some time and people are unlikely to wait before passing judgment.

“The problem is that it will take time to learn if the mix of enrollees is healthier or sicker, and how premium increases vary around the country, and how people feel about their coverage,” he wrote. “Meanwhile Republican politicians will lambast the law and Democratic ones will offer lukewarm support and overall popularity of the ACA probably won’t change very much. Anybody willing to wait for a judgment based on the right metrics?”

Still, as the deadline loomed and people scrambled to get insurance, headlines were primarily focused on number of enrollees, and the fact that the HealthCare.gov website went down for a while Monday under the high demands.

The website had crashed twice by mid-afternoon Monday, and Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Aaron Albright told The New York Times that more than 100,000 people were on the site at the same time around noon. The first website outage was a software error.

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