The Daily Mail is reporting a story that should be some cause of concern. The enrollment for the health insurance exchanges under the PPACA has been quite small:
Just 51,000 people completed Obamacare applications during the first week the Healthcare.gov website was online, according to two sources inside the Department of Health and Human Services who gave MailOnline an exclusive look at the earliest enrollment numbers.
The career civil servants, who process data inside the agency, confirmed independently that just 6,200 Americans applied for health insurance through the problem-plagued website on October 1, the day it first opened to the public.
Neither HHS nor the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would comment on the record about the numbers. Enroll America, the president’s organization of health care ‘navigators’ who are charged with helping Americans sign up, didn’t reply to a request for information about its level of success so far.
The White House also did not respond to emails seeking comment.
But several administration officials have claimed this month that they didn’t have access to the kinds of raw figures MailOnline obtained from the people who work for them. And the anemic totals suggest a far lower level of interest in coverage through the Affordable Care Act than the Obama administration has hoped to see.
That’s consistent with the results being reported anecdotally by the individual states.
The open enrollment period for the exchanges is six months. If enrollments continue at the present rate, the total enrollment, including for the state-run exchanges, would be roughly 2 million people.
My experience with open enrollments conducted by my clients is that they typically follow a pattern. There’s substantial inquiry and interest at first which simmers down to a much lower level and then there’s a final flurry of enrollments at the end. Pretty much as you might expect. All the more reason for a much smoother rollout than has actually been experienced.
Don’t confuse me with someone who wants the PPACA to fail. Quite the contrary. I want it to succeed to whatever degree it will succeed as quickly as possible so that we can recognize the scope of the problem and turn to addressing the problems with our healthcare system that are in such desperate need of resolution and which, sadly, the PPACA mostly just kicks down the road.
Perhaps the problems with the web site can be corrected by throwing hardware at it and bug resolution. That woud be a best case scenario. If the problems are more basic, resolving them while the site is up and running could be quite difficult. Imagine conducting brain surgery while the patient is playing a game of tennis.