Obamacare Enrollment Target Drops to 6 Million

CBO predicts 1 million fewer sign-ups because of technical problems with the enrollment process

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the troubled launch of the Healthcare.gov website October 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. The federal healthcare insurance exchange site has been plagued by problems since its launch on October 1. 
National Journal
Sam Baker
Feb. 4, 2014, 7:28 a.m.

About 6 mil­lion people will prob­ably en­roll in private in­sur­ance cov­er­age through Obama­care this year, the Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice said today.

CBO had ini­tially pro­jec­ted that 7 mil­lion people would sign up for cov­er­age in the first year, but it rolled back those ex­pect­a­tions “in light of tech­nic­al prob­lems” that plagued Health­Care.gov and cer­tain state ex­changes when they launched.

It’s the first time CBO has quan­ti­fied the dam­age from Health­Care.gov‘s woes. The White House has ac­know­ledged that en­roll­ment will be lower than ex­pec­ted be­cause of the web­site’s early troubles, but has not come up with a new es­tim­ate of its own. The ad­min­is­tra­tion pre­vi­ously used CBO’s fig­ures to set its en­roll­ment tar­gets.

Roughly 3 mil­lion people have en­rolled in private plans so far, with two months left to go — put­ting the ad­min­is­tra­tion roughly on track to hit the re­vised tar­get.

CBO also shaved 1 mil­lion people off its en­roll­ment es­tim­ate for Medi­caid, drop­ping from 9 mil­lion pro­jec­ted sign-ups to 8 mil­lion.

Des­pite the polit­ic­al fur­or over Obama­care’s tech­nic­al prob­lems, CBO isn’t ex­pect­ing any long-term dam­age.

The budget of­fice still ex­pects the law to ul­ti­mately re­duce the num­ber of un­in­sured people in the United States by 24 mil­lion — un­changed from its earli­er es­tim­ates.

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