Toward the end of October, the United States Department of Health and Human Services released its official projection, estimating that 10 million Americans across the country will be rolled in coverage through the Affordable Care Act by the end of 2016. This number has been called "underwhelming" and "surprisingly low" by a number of media outlets, including the Washington Post and USA Today.
According to the New York Times, this projection means that only one million new people will sign up for health care coverage during the 2016 Open Enrollment season. While this has been seen as a slightly pessimistic number, officials from the Obama administration say that it is a realistic goal, while acknowledging there is much work yet to be done.
This number highlights the struggles that the administration has faced when trying to bring more affordable health care to Americans. The Republicans have argued that this lowered expectation from the White House is evidence that premiums have become too expensive for people to afford, resulting in the leveling off of the number of those who are signing up.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that 21 million Americans would be signed up for health care through Obamacare by the end of 2016, originally suggesting that this third Open Enrollment period would user in the program's biggest surge. This discrepancy has led many to believe that the increase in those signing up has already seen its peak.
Politico recently argued that the decreased expectations might just be a political tactic for the Democrats leading up to the 2016 presidential election. The news outlet argues that, with lower numbers to meet, it will be easier for the ACA to exceed its 2016 goal, something that will be politically beneficial for the Democrats running for office.
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