Regardless of technical glitches and certain media outlets running non-stop misinformation about it — the Affordable Care Act is generating interest and tons of web traffic. It’s also already garnered half a million applications since the state and federal exchanges officially opened for business on October 1st, 2013. White House officials told CNN that while “The website is unacceptable, and we are improving it,” they are pleased that “across the country people are getting access to affordable care on January 1.”
Undoubtedly the statistics on Obamacare enrollment are going to be among some of the most highly anticipated numbers in quite some time. Republicans are of course hoping that the stiff resistance to Obamacare in red states that required the feds to handle the applications in those states is why the main federal site is so bogged down with traffic, and that combined with their campaign to keep people afraid of death panels and “government in your doctor’s office” will keep enrollment low, dooming the ACA to fail since not enough people will be in the insurance pools to keep the rates competitive. Democrats and the White House of course are hoping for their enrollment numbers to at least meet their goals.
By all accounts, the glitches and technical issues — which have spawned congressional hearings in the next week or two — are mainly due to high interest in the sites and the information on them. It would tend to bolster the notion that people are very much interested in getting healthcare they can afford. “We are going to work intensely for the next six months to make sure we meet the demand,” said the same official to CNN about the improvements needed to handle more users on the sites.
It’s unclear how many of the half million new applications will follow-through with the process and select and pay for a new insurance policy, but there’s no denying that the interest in the exchanges is there. The Obama administration has said they plan to release the first, full round of statistics on those who have signed up in November. Until then, expect more and more postulation from both sides of the aisle as each side speculates what the data that we do end up seeing really means.
The Affordable Care Act was the first significant health care reform law in our nation’s history. It was signed into law by President Obama in 2010 and has faced a deluge of attempts to repeal it from the House Republicans. This past summer, however, the Supreme Court — even with its narrow conservative majority — upheld the majority of the law.