jueves, 10 de abril de 2014

Obamacare enrollment reaches 7.5 million

Montserrat Pineda Solis  (141445)
Sociedad y Política de Estados Unidos
Obamacare enrollment reaches 7.5 millions

In this article by Sandhya Somashekhar and Jason Millman that was published today in The Washington Post, the news is that the previous enrollment in the Obamacare grew by 400,000 enrollees in just a week.  They go on explaining that even though not everyone who signed up has paid the first month premium, it is currently between 80% and 90% the people who have, and this percentage is expected to grow rapidly.
Also, the deadline for signups is being pushed back until April 15th, but only for the people that had already tried to sign up but due to the failure of the website weren’t able to complete their applications.  On this, Kathleen Sebelius, who is the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services , said that it is not really an extension, but merely the next logical step to allow the people that did try to sign up and couldn’t, to avoid paying unjustly the fine that people who don’t sign up will have to pay.

First of all, I agree that extending the dead line to April 15th is a good decision seeing as it wasn’t any of the applicants fault that the website crashed so dramatically and that they couldn’t complete their applications, but what no one is clarifying is whether this extension applies to everyone, or only to the people that has already begun the process. In any case, what about the people that couldn’t even start with their applications because the website was down? They clearly don’t have the required code to continue with the process, but again, it is not their fault I think.  
Unless one of them decided to hack the system into crashing to avoid having to sing up early, or even the government, who wasn’t perceiving as much sign ups as they wanted, and intentionally crashed to system to extend the deadline and save face. Who knows? But let’s not start with the conspiracy theories.  
What we do know is that in April 1st, the enrollment was at 7.1 million, and today it is at 7.5 million, but, how does this number really translate into success for Obamacare? One would have to analyze whether the majority of the enrollees are, young people, or old, or healthy or sick, or whether people who signed up had a previous insurance policy, or didn’t, anyway I think it is not just about the number of sign ups.

All in all I think that given  the first real expectancy the  government had for enrollment, (which they had to lower, from 7M to 6M because of the now infamous website crash), it does represent a win for Obamacare, albeit a small and controversial win, but a win none the less. It is just a matter of waiting to see if this extension period works as they wanted, or gives those who oppose Obamacare more reasons to doubt it, for now it is as Sebelius said, “customer-friendly operations”. 

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