The Truth Behind the Obamacare Sign-up Numbers

July 11, 2014

The Commonwealth Fund recently reported that as of May 1, 2014, 20 million people now have health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare. A follow-up paper by the Heritage Foundation puts that number in perspective, however.

For starters, the Commonwealth study does not differentiate between people who were previously insured and those who never had health insurance. We don't know how many of the 20 million had their prior insurance cancelled or changed significantly, forcing them into Medicaid or an exchange or onto their parents' plans.

We also don't know how many of the 20 million actually paid their new insurance premiums. We only know the number of people who signed up for health insurance.

Breaking down the catagories of people in the 20 million is also revealing. One million were young adults, under the age of 26, who were placed on their parents' plans. Six million enrolled in Medicaid or S-CHIP which are taxpayer-funded entitlements. We don't know how many of these individuals were previously eligible for the programs prior to the passage of the ACA. Five million purchased health insurance in the private market, which basically has nothing to do with Obamacare. That leaves eight million who purchased insurance through the newly-created exchanges.

When Obamacare became law in 2010, fifty million Americans did not have health insurance for one reason or another. Taxpayers are now paying trillions of dollars, are enduring a huge health care regulatory burden, and are being misled about Obamacare enrollment numbers.