KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

At 8 Million Sign-Ups, Health Law Enrollment Surpasses Target

President Barack Obama hailed the latest tally of people who gained insurance as a result of the health law. News outlets also look inside this latest round of data to find out what information the administration is providing and what is still to come.   

The New York Times: Enrollments Exceed Obama’s Target For Health Care Act
President Obama announced Thursday that eight million people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, including what the White House said were a sufficient number of young, healthy adults, a critical milestone that might counter election-year attacks by Republicans on the law’s success and viability. The total number of enrollees exceeds by a million the target set by the administration for people to buy insurance through government-run health care exchanges. In particular, the number of young people signing up appears to have surged during the final weeks of enrollment (Landler and Shear, 4/17).

The Washington Post: Obama Hails 8 Million Enrollees For Insurance Under Federal Health-Care Law
Speaking at an impromptu news conference, the president described how the law has helped make a difference for ordinary citizens such as a young woman in Pennsylvania with a self-employed husband and two young children who managed to get insurance despite being diagnosed with breast cancer. … Armed with those enrollment numbers, Obama challenged the political dynamic that has grown up around the law and that has unnerved some members of his party. Problems with the law have become a central theme in the Republicans’ efforts to wrest control of the Senate this fall (Eilperin and Nakamura, 4/17).

NPR: Obama: Affordable Care Act Enrollment Hits 8 Million
The latest figures represent a turnaround from the disastrous debut of the website last year. The president said it was "well past time" for Republicans to quit trying to repeal the program, something he said they have voted on "some 50 times" (Neuman, 4/17).

Politico: Obama Spikes The Football
But the final enrollment numbers, along with other recent survey findings, are strong enough to give the Obama administration a cushion against some of the most common criticisms of the enrollment trends. Here are the takeaways from Thursday’s announcement (Nather, 4/17).

Los Angeles Times: Obamacare Enrollments Hit 8 Million
The total exceeded the initial forecast by 1 million people and capped a notable comeback after a disastrous debut last fall gave rise to predictions the law would collapse in its maiden year. The health law, often called Obamacare, instead has brought about the largest increase in insurance coverage in the United States in the half a century since Medicare and Medicaid were created (Levey and Terhune, 4/17).

Kaiser Health News: Obama Sharply Criticizes Republicans As He Announces 8 Million Have Enrolled
Enrollment in private health insurance on federal and state marketplaces has surged in recent weeks and now totals 8 million, a feisty President Barack Obama said Thursday. "This thing is working,” Obama said at a White House news conference in which he lambasted Republican critics of the health law, especially those in states that did not expand Medicaid eligibility, as the law allows.  … The actual number of people affected [by the refusal to expand Medicaid] is 5.7 million, the administration said (Galewitz and Hernandez, 4/17).

Bloomberg: Obamacare Enrollment Got Younger In Late Surge, Officials Say 
People who waited until the last minute to sign up for Obamacare were significantly younger than those first in line, as the percentage of enrollees younger than 35 jumped in the last month, officials said. About 35 percent of Americans who signed up for a private plan using new insurance exchanges were in the young adult age group, state insurance commissioners said after a meeting with President Barack Obama and his top staff (Wayne, 4/17).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Says Health-Insurance Enrollees Reach 8 Million
Some 35% of those who signed up through the federal health-insurance exchange were in the coveted under-35 demographic, Mr. Obama said. The participation of younger, relatively healthy people is needed to balance out the cost of medical claims from older and sicker ones. The announcement contained few other new details about enrollment. Republicans quickly pointed to missing information—such as the number of people who had actually gained coverage after being uninsured, as opposed to those replacing an existing policy—to suggest the figures could be overblown as a measure of success (Radnofsky and McCain Nelson, 4/17).

The Washington Post's Wonkblog: Here's How We Got To 8 Million Obamacare Signups
Last summer, the administration had hoped that 40 percent of exchange enrollees would be between 18 and 34, based on the Congressional Budget Office's estimates that 7 million people in all would enroll in 2014. Instead, the administration got 28 percent, which the White House and supporters very eagerly pointed out Thursday was nearly identical to youth enrollment in the first year of the Massachusetts health-care law that Obamacare was based on (Millman, 4/17).

The Associated Press: Late Sign-Ups Improve Outlook For Obama Health Law
A surge of eleventh-hour enrollments has improved the outlook for President Barack Obama's health care law, with more people signing up overall and a much-needed spark of interest among young adults. … Still to be announced is what share of those enrolled were previously uninsured — the true test of Obama's Affordable Care Act — and how many actually secured coverage by paying their first month's premiums (Alonso-Zaldivar and Lederman, 4/18).

McClatchy: Health Care Enrollment Hits 8 Million, Obama Says
More than 8 million Americans have signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, a triumphant President Barack Obama announced Thursday. Obama hailed the number -- which exceeds expectations -- and said that 35 percent of those who enrolled through the federal marketplace are under the age of 35, a coveted demographic that is cheaper to insure. He argued that the law has also helped tame soaring health care costs, saying that since the law took effect, health care spending has risen more slowly than at any time in the past 50 years (Clark and Wise, 4/17).

Kaiser Health News: Obama Announces 8 Million Have Enrolled In Marketplace Plans (Video)
Kaiser Health News posted this video of Thursday’s White House news conference on enrollment figures. President Barack Obama also announced that 35 percent of people who enrolled on the federally run marketplace are under age 35 (4/17).

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