Docs, Hospitals Cope With ‘Trickle’ Of Newly Insured Patients — But Questions Continue About The Actual Number


Jan 16, 2014

As the Wall Street Journal reports that one of the biggest issues right now is making sure these newly insured people have insurance cards, other news outlets detail reports and questions about the number of enrollees.

The Wall Street Journal: Two Weeks Into Health Law’s Rollout, Few Problems, Few Patients
Two weeks into the full rollout of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals and doctors say they are coping with the trickle of new patients relatively smoothly, but one of the biggest issues is making sure enrollees get insurance cards. The 2010 health law represented the biggest expansion of insurance coverage in a generation. Nonetheless, the number of people signing up so far for private coverage or Medicaid under the law is still a tiny fraction of all Americans with health insurance, partly because computer snafus hindered early enrollment (Corbett Dooren and Beck, 1/16).

The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: Warning: Ignore Claims That 3.9 Million People Signed Up For Medicaid Because Of Obamacare
There is much less to the Medicaid figure than meets the eye. (The exchange figure has been updated recently, to 2.2 million, but not the Medicaid figure.) Indeed, there has been vast confusion about what this figure means, especially in the news media. The Fact Checker cited the 3.9 million figure in a few recent columns, but prodded by an interesting analysis by Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics, we decided to take a closer look (Kessler, 1/16).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: State Snapshots Of Obamacare Enrollment Numbers
Enrollment in the health law’s marketplaces surged in December, and the administration’s report on the numbers made headlines on Monday — but the national story isn’t the whole story. Health care is delivered in 50 different state markets, and each state is implementing the health law with varying degrees of success and failure, enthusiasm and hostility. Reporters at NPR member stations around the country dove into the data the Obama administration released and delivered these dispatches (1/16).

In the background, insurance companies appear optimistic about the health law’s future –

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: Don’t Believe The Hype: Health Insurers Think Obamacare Is Going To Be Fine
Obamacare’s troubled rollout hasn’t scared insurers out of the marketplace. Instead, speaking to thousands of health-care investors gathered in San Francisco, plan executives describe the Affordable Care Act as, at worst, a fixable mess and, at best, a major growth opportunity. The executives’ commentary was a reminder that the health-care industry doesn’t set its watch by the election cycles which dominate Washington. They expected Obamacare to be a bit of a mess in 2014 — but they’re in it for the long haul (Kliff, 1/15).

CQ HealthBeat: Despite Near-Term Hitches, Insurance CEO Expect Gains From Government Health Plans
The rough startup of the new health care exchanges has not dampened the enthusiasm of leaders of the nation’s largest insurance companies for working with government programs to build up their businesses (Young, 1/15).