GO FIGURE: To reach goal, people have to sign up for health care at rate faster than breathing

The Associated Press

FILE This March 1, 2014 FILE photo shows part of the website for HealthCare.gov as photographed in Washington. If the Obama administration's health care plan is going to pass what amounts to its first physical, people have to sign up this month at a pretty speedy rate: 42 times a minute. That's somewhere between the steady rate you breathe and how fast your heart beats. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)

Associated Press + More

By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — If the Obama administration's health care plan is going to pass what amounts to its first physical, people have to sign up this month at a pretty speedy rate: 42 times a minute.

That's somewhere between the steady rate you breathe and how fast your heart beats.

Someone has to sign up every 1.4 seconds in March for the Obama administration to reach its 6 million sign-up goal. Enrollment season ends March 31 and as of March 1, sign-ups were at 4.2 million.

The government needs 1.8 million sign-ups in the 30 days between March 2 and March 31, officials said. That's 60,000 a day or 2,500 per hour. That's way more than the daily averages for January and February, which ranged between 33,000 and 34,000.

To put it in health terms, the average healthy adult at rest takes 12 to 18 breaths per minute. The average adult pulse is between 60 and 100 beats per minute at rest. Highly trained athletes can get their heart rate below 50 beats per minute.

It takes about a minute to read this. If the Obama administration wants to hit its goal, another 42 people had to sign up in that time.

___

Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: http://twitter.com/borenbears

Go Figure, an occasional feature from The Associated Press, explores the news through numbers and what they mean.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.