Those are the figures right now. But in February of last year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 7 million people would be covered this year through the exchanges. Is that figure realistic? The Washington Post's Obamacare guru, Sarah Kliff, reported this week that the health research firm Avalere Health estimated what the pace of enrollments should look like, modeling it off of the 2006 Medicare drug program rollout. Their guess for Obamacare was 2.4 million people by the end of 2013, making the 7 million target plausible.
One factor which will help? The health insurance industry is going all-in on the law. As the Wall Street Journal reported last month, health insurers are fighting for these millions of new customers. The Journal suggested that insurers will spend $500 million on local TV ads in 2014. Here's my favorite part of the article: "The ad campaigns are a major shift in strategy for health insurers, most of whom have never really had to market directly to consumers aggressively until now." It's the free-market flipside of Obama's infamous promise: If you don't like your insurer, you don't have to keep it. A full fight for customers could help the law reach the 7 million mark – bringing the total number of people insured under it to nearly 20 million.
Is the GOP really going to spend the fall campaigning to take health care away from nearly 20 million people?