A reported 2.1 million people have successfully signed up for health benefits through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace system since the health care exchange system launched in October.
This national number represents both individual state systems and the federal exchange.
On the one hand, this is an impressive number given there was a question as to whether even a few hundred thousand would be able to sign up. But digging deeper into the facts reveals a more complex picture, where it is clear that the goals of the Affordable Care Act have a long way to go before they are met.
To say that 2.1 million people are insured through the Marketplace is to miss the point that there are nearly 5 million people without coverage — 7 million people actually have had their insurance plans canceled.
However, one of the primary motivations for a nationally-regulated health care system is to make sure we capture the 40 million citizens who are currently uninsured.
The number “2.1 million” that has been issued to the media actually represents the many people who were already insured and were going to lose their insurance. How many of those original 40 million have a plan now?
And what happened to the other approximately 5 million people who lost their insurance and did not receive coverage through the Marketplace?
From what we witnessed at Hafetz and Associates, getting through the Web portal was akin to buying tickets to a Rolling Stones concert. If you strategically tried to go online at a certain time of day you may have gotten in, or you may have needed to sit there and try and try again — even with these tricks, you may have been shut out.
So where do we go from here?