KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Both Sides In The Health Law Battle Spin Insurance Sign-Up Figures

Health law advocates offered positive messages about the enrollment numbers released Wednesday by the Obama administration while the measure's critics pounced on the low figures and renewed calls for action.

Los Angeles Times: New Obamacare Numbers Give Incomplete Picture, Advocates Say
Some figures released Wednesday on the enrollment of Californians in insurance programs under President Obama's healthcare overhaul exclude many low-income applicants and fail to present a complete picture of those receiving coverage, experts said. Many Californians who qualify for newly expanded government insurance for the poor have been enrolling directly with county health systems. Those enrollees are not included in the preliminary Obamacare participation numbers released Wednesday, officials said (Brown, 11/13).

Los Angeles Times: Obamacare: Critics Seize On Low Enrollment Numbers
Immediately after the numbers were released, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) renewed his call for legislation that would change the law to prevent Americans from losing access to the healthcare plans they currently have. Obama has been looking for ways to make such changes without involving Congress, where Republicans are looking for any opportunity to repeal the entire law (Levey, 11/13).

NBC News: GOP Pounces On Obamacare Enrollment Figure
Republicans hammered the White House on Wednesday for low October Obamacare enrollment, saying the paltry number of Americans who have bought insurance through the new health care exchanges demonstrates that the legislation, as a whole, has failed. The Department of Health and Human Services released data showing that fewer than 27,000 signed up for an Affordable Care Act plan through the federal website between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2.  Including those who signed up through state-based exchanges, just over 100,000 Americans have picked health plans through the program (Dann, 11/13).

The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: The White House’s Happy Tweet About ‘Obamacare’ Enrollment
This tweet from the White House is a great example of trying to make lemonade out of lemons. Let’s explain what these numbers mean — and how the administration has shifted its goals (Kessler, 11/14).

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