Obama: Half-a-Million Enrolled in December

Based on statements the President made in his press conference today, Obamacare is on track to enroll about 12.5 percent of its final goal by January 1st.

The President released new information on the progress of Obamacare enrollment Friday. In prepared remarks at the beginning of his press conference Obama said “more than half-a-million Americans have enrolled through healthcare.gov in the first three weeks of December alone.”

The President went on to cite high daily enrollment in California, but it was not clear if those figures were included in his statement about half-a-million new enrollments or separate. Later in his speech the President suggested that “a couple million” people had enrolled in the first three months.

At the end of November the total number of “enrolled” Americans stood at about 1.2 million. That includes 365,000 who bought private plans and just over 800,000 who signed up for Medicaid. Adding 500,000 to the previous 1.2 million (and possibly more from states with their own exchange) could get close to 2 million mentioned today by the President.

Based on CBO predictions the White House had projected that 7 million Americans would enroll in private plans and an additional 9 million would qualify for Medicaid during the 6 month enrollment period. The White House has since tried to back away from that 16 million total. If the total enrollment on January 1st is close to 2 million, the White House will have reached 12.5 percent of its original goal over the first 50 percent of the enrollment period.

Other programs which have been compared to Obamacare–the Massachusetts reform and the Medicare part D reform–achieved more than 50 percent of their final total by the halfway point in the enrollment period. If Obamacare follows the same pattern, that would suggest final enrollment will be less than a third of what was projected by the CBO.

Despite this, and the fact that the percentage of “young invincibles” signing up also appears to be much lower than predicted, President Obama said again today that this was not a sign of “fundamental problems” with the law.