PA Matches Anemic National Obamacare Enrollment
Pa.’s numbers are in line with other states, which nationally showed far fewer enrollments than the Obama administration had expected.
Federal officials expected 500,000 enrollees across the country in October, but only 106,185 successfully signed up.
In Pennsylvania, the number of people who applied plans was higher. 57,497 filled out the forms to sign up (3,788 of whom were determined to be eligible for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program).
Pennsylvanians were forced to sign up via the federal government’s healthcare.gov website because Governor Tom Corbett and Republican lawmakers declined to establish a state-based insurance exchange.
Signup rates were higher in states that did create their own exchanges, but their October numbers still fell below estimates.
The administration believes that enrollments will improve over the next few months.
President Obama acknowledged the failure of the rollout and the problem of cancelled plans. In a press conference today, he said the federal government will allow plans to continue for another year, even if they didn’t meet the new ACA requirements. It was an attempt to quell the criticism the administration has gotten over the past month.
“I think it’s fair to say the rollout has been rough so far,” Obama said. “This fix won’t solve every problem, but it will help a lot of people.”
Obama said he has to “win back some credibility” on the health care law. “We fumbled the rollout,” he said.
Critics pounced on the poor showing. Senator Pat Toomey said more is yet to come.
“The faulty website is only the tip of the iceberg. The President’s health care law forces people to buy overpriced health plans they don’t want, hikes taxes, and puts important, personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats instead of patients and their doctors,” Toomey said. “The whole law is unworkable.”
The rollout has caused trouble with Democrats, who just lost the 9 point polling advantage that they had built during the shutdown debate. The extension of cancelled plans may help slow their crashing approval numbers.
In 2013, individual health insurance is optional; however, in 2014 penalties for those who do not have health insurance will take effect in the form of a fine.