Obamacare enrollment is only slightly behind expectations, following a surge in enrollment that has brought the total number of sign-ups to 3 million.
As of this week, 3 million people have signed up for private coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges, the Health and Human Services Department said today. The figure includes state-run marketplaces as well as the 36 states using federal exchanges through HealthCare.gov.
The figure puts Obamacare enrollment much closer to its initial targets. It’s now effectively about a month behind schedule—despite losing the better part of two months to the technical problems that initially plagued HealthCare.gov.
Before the site’s launch in October, the White House had hoped to hit 3.3 million sign-ups by the end of the year. So, hitting 3 million people about three weeks into January is still technically behind that pace—but not by much.
The initial target was to enroll about 7 million people by the end of the open enrollment period. Although the White House has since disowned that estimate, it’s on pace to get close to that target by the time the enrollment window closes in March.
Enrollment has surged since HealthCare.gov‘s user experience became functional, reassuring White House officials that the site’s troubled launch did not turn people off to the overall concept of exploring their options for health insurance.
Although getting millions of people covered is the broad purpose behind health care reform, the law’s basic survival—at least for this year—depends more on who signs up. The marketplaces need healthy consumers to offset the cost of guaranteeing coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
Young adults—who are presumed to be the healthiest enrollees—made up roughly 25 percent of the population that had signed up for coverage through the end of December. The initial target was closer to 38 percent, but young people were always expected to sign up late in the process, and even 25 to 30 percent is probably enough to keep premiums relatively stable, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."