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The Final Stretch

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"The Final Stretch"

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Momentum Is Building As Enrollment Deadline Nears

We’ve been talking about the Affordable Care Act a lot this month, and we will continue to do so as the days tick away until the March 31 deadline to enroll in health insurance or pay a fine. With just 12 days left, more and more people are signing up for coverage and the word is spreading about affordable care. Here’s what has been going on:

  • 5 million have now signed up for private insurance in the state and federal marketplaces. On the heels of last week’s announcement that 4.2 million had enrolled through the end of February, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that enrollment has now passed the 5 million mark. That’s 800,000 additional enrollments in just over two weeks – almost the same as the entire month of February. Enrollment is increasing rapidly as the deadline approaches, and it will continue to do so in the remaining days. This is in addition to the millions who are gaining coverage through Medicaid and the 3.1 million who have coverage by staying on the parents’ plan.
  • 1 million have signed up for coverage in California. California has been a leader in helping to implement the law, and as a consequence has seen a huge number of people benefitting from the law. The state’s insurance exchange, Covered California, passed a million people enrolled on Saturday—one-fifth of all sign-ups nationwide. “We are pleased and privileged to be helping a million people find the peace of mind that comes with having insurance,” the exchange’s Executive Director said. “But we’re not stopping at a million.”
  • Celebrities line up to lend their voices to enrollment efforts. Ever since President Obama sat down for the hilarious “Between Two Ferns” interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis, the administration has rolled out numerous other celebrity voices to spread the word about the law. LeBron James recorded a public service announcement in which he reminded his audience, “You never know when you might take a hit.” A number of celebrities’ moms sat down to ask, “Seriously, do you want your mothers to have a nervous breakdown? You need health insurance.” And famed NCAA basketball coaches Geno Auriemma and Roy Williams recorded a video to kick off a different kind of bracket – the sweet 16 reasons to get covered. Obama will make his first appearance as President on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” tomorrow to tout the law.
  • Report finds sports injuries that are common among young people cost thousands. Many of the “young invincibles” who don’t think it’s worth it to enroll in health care coverage might want to think again. Accidents happen, and when they do health care can be costly. A broken arm, for example, costs an average of $7,700.
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Meanwhile, as millions of Americans get access to health insurance for the first time, Republicans in Congress continue their repeal-at-all-costs approach. Their latest anti-Obamacare bill would cause a spike in insurance premiums up to 20 percent and leave 13 million fewer Americans with insurance. And while the GOP keeps insisting it will provide an alternative to the ACA, you shouldn’t believe the hype. The New York Times even called out their latest gambit for what it was: all new talk, but no new ideas. The only plan they agree on is to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

BOTTOM LINE: While Republicans keep trying to figure out ways to repeal the ACA and go back to the days when insurance companies were in charge of your health care, the new health care law’s successes march on. Insurance sign-ups passed another historic threshold Monday, with 5 million now covered. And there are numerous outreach efforts to keep the momentum up through the March 31 deadline to enroll.