The predicted last-minute surge in enrollment on the ObamaCare exchanges Monday—the last day of open enrollment—produced enough new signups that the Obama administration claimed victory in hitting its target, with about 7.1 million people signed up since enrollment began in October of last year.
A recent article in the Los Angeles Times cited an unpublished RAND Corporation study as evidence that 9.5 million people who were previously uninsured now have health coverage thanks to ObamaCare.
On closer inspection, however, the numbers don’t add up to anywhere near 9.5 million.
As Avik Roy of Forbes, among others, reported this week, recent surveys—including the RAND study—indicate the vast majority of the 7.1 million who gained coverage on the exchange were previously insured. It’s thought that only a meager one-third of Americans that enrolled in the exchanges were previously uninsured.
In Texas, the numbers are even more surprising. As of March 1, 295,000 Texans had signed up for a health care plan on the federal exchange, and about 95,000 others were deemed eligible for Medicaid. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 2.2 million uninsured Texans qualify for subsidies to purchase private coverage on the exchange, and 627,000 are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. Why haven’t all these people signed up?
Of course, the enrollment numbers will be higher once all the March (and April) applications are counted. But it’s unlikely that anywhere close to the total number of uninsured and Medicaid/CHIP-eligible will have signed up for ObamaCare coverage when all’s said and done.
The Obama Administration has long touted that the ACA will significantly decrease the number of uninsured Americans. Today though, the data suggests that the majority of people with health insurance purchased through the exchange were previously insured.