From squawking to hiding their heads in the sand.
Over Seven million have enrolled in the ACA since October.
“The increased coverage so far amounts to substantial progress toward one of the law's principal goals and is the most significant expansion since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The millions of newly insured also create a politically important constituency that may complicate any future Republican repeal efforts.”1 Since leading Congressional Republicans and Fox News spent months predicting that the White House would never meet its sign-up goal for 7 million ( an estimate determined by the Congressional Budget office) and would end up in a "death spiral." As Rachel Maddow noted, it's proving to be the more entertaining feature of Republican political instincts in the Obama era, and apparently have not learned a lesson about predictions; and publicly ignoring the numbers and denying the numbers. Here is a reel of conservative pundits, GOP personalities and leading political figures who predicted a Romney win:
When faced with the sign-up figures, several Republicans took to the airwaves to suggest "the books are being cooked," including Sen. Lindsay Graham (R- South Carolina) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming). Even Fox News interviewer Jenna Lee couldn't coax any proof for such an allegation, and grew visbility frustrated when Sen. Graham couldn't articulate any alternative to the ACA. Although Miss Lee didnt' challenge Sen Graham on such silly statements as "Most people have lost their insurance plans." But Senator Graham assured Fox viewers he would have hearings every other day to get to the bottom of who was signing up and issue FOA requests to see the paper work, bringing to realty a satire piece that recently ran in the New Yorker by Andy Borowitz: "Issa Subpoenas Seven Million Americans Who Signed Up for Obamacare."
The Washington Post's Paul Waldman's OP piece "Obamacare fails to collapse. Time to move on, folks." predicts that after March 31, the ACA will cease to be a daily national news story.
That isn’t to say there won’t be more ACA news in the coming months and years, but it won’t all blow in at once. Later this year, insurers will begin to set their premiums for 2015; those premiums will rise, just as they do every year, but the big question is by how much. Starting in the fall, people will begin signing up for insurance that takes effect next January, and the number who do so will be important to track the law’s success in continuing to reduce the ranks of the uninsured. At least some states that have held out on expanding Medicaid will likely give in and allow their poor citizens to get insurance. How the health care system handles all these newly insured people, many of whom have medical issues that they haven’t sought treatment for before, is yet to be seen. Those will all be important stories that deserve attention. But none of them will produce screaming headlines.
That isn’t to say that Republicans will become any less vociferous in their opposition to the law. As Greg noted the other day, polling shows Republicans are the only group of voters that wants repeal — but Republican lawmakers will keep telling their base what it wants to hear. As long as that base is motivated by hatred of the law (and its symbolic value for them as a representation of Barack Obama himself), at least some will keep shaking their fists at it and talking about repeal. And every positive development will be met with assertions that it can’t possibly be true.
But some in the media are picking up on the recent denial meme raised by Fox News and Republican pundits (you will see some of that in the Sen. John Barrasso interview on Fox. By the mere act of asking questions, it's dismissed the figures. Here is the graphic from the Chris Wallace interview.
What's more bothersome, that meme is being picked up by more mainstream media, including Chuck Todd who asked the same questions on his report yesterday for NBC Nightly News. Apparently they are unaware of some preliminary figures and ongoing research that's been already reported.
How many were previously uninsured?
65 Percent Of Those Who Planned To Sign Up By March 31 Were Previously Uninsured. A survey by McKinsey & Company's Center for U.S. Health System Reform in early March found that 65 percent of people who said they planned to enroll by the March 31 deadline were previously uninsured. The study also did not account for Medicaid sign-ups, which could significantly cut into the uninsured rate. [McKinsey & Company, 3/6/14; Talking Points Memo, 3/7/14]
How many "young invincibles" have signed up?
HHS: Young Adults Currently Account For 27 Percent Of Marketplace Plans. An issue brief from the Department of Health and Human Services showed that young adults accounted for "27 percent of the Marketplace plan selections," under the Affordable Care Act so far and that this number "has remained strong," and "is consistent with expectations".
Kaiser Study: 25 Percent Young Adult Enrollees Sufficient To Allow Insurer Profits. A December 17 Kaiser Permanente study found that "the financial consequences of lower enrollment among young adults are not as great as conventional wisdom might suggest." Kaiser's study showed the effect of having 25 percent of young adults in the overall market would "still be expected to earn profits" and that the effect on premiums "would be well below the level that would trigger a 'death spiral'":
How many have actually paid for the coverage so far?
That's not known, and since the requirements to pay are weeks after the sign-up period, it's too early to tell.
[1.] Obamacare has led to health coverage for millions more people, by Noam N. Levey, Los Angeles Times, 3-30-14