Last-Minute Sign-Ups Improve Outlook for Obamacare

Obama Health Care
Carolyn Kaster/AP

WASHINGTON -- A surge of eleventh-hour enrollments has improved the outlook for President Barack Obama's health care law, with more people signing up overall and a much-needed spark of interest among young adults.

Nonetheless, Obama's announcement Thursday that 8 million have signed up for subsidized private insurance, and that 35 percent of them are younger than 35, is just a peek at what might be going on with the nation's newest social program.

Still to be announced is what share of those enrolled were previously uninsured -- the true test of Obama's Affordable Care Act -- and how many actually secured coverage by paying their first month's premiums.

"This thing is working," a confident Obama said of his signature domestic achievement. The days of website woes and canceled policies seemed far behind.

State-by-state statistics, expected as early as next week, will provide a much fuller picture.

A key question is how many of those signed up were young adults, ages 18-34. They're the health care overhaul's most coveted demographic because they're healthier than older adults and their premiums can help cross-subsidize care for the sick. That would help hold down future premium increases.

According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, young adults 18-34 represent about 40 percent of the people eligible to buy coverage in the health care law's new insurance markets. The White House says that group now accounts for 28 percent of those who have picked a plan in states where the federal government is running the insurance exchanges.

Not perfect, but not bad either, said Larry Levitt, an insurance expert with Kaiser.

"Enrollment among young adults ended up lower than their share of the target population but sufficient to keep the market stable in the vast majority of the country," he said.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is forecasting only a slight average increase in premiums for 2015. Some private insurance experts expect big differences around the country, predicting that insurers will seek noticeably higher premiums, around 6 percent to 8 percent on average.

Republicans were having none of Obama's celebration. A statement from the office of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he remains committed to repealing the law and replacing it.

The president appeared in the White House briefing room to trumpet the new figures, which beat initial projections by 1 million people

Following the disastrous rollout of the insurance exchanges in October, when was virtually unusable, Democrats have been hoping that higher-than-expected results could help their candidates reclaim the political high ground ahead of the midterm elections.

Seven months out from Election Day, they're seeking to turn the page on the law's flawed debut -- a strategy underscored last week when Obama announced that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who became the face of the rollout failure, was stepping down.

Polling shows the law remains unpopular in much of the country, yet most Americans say they don't expect it to be entirely repealed, but changed in some way.

With the insurance markets looking increasingly viable, Obama and Democrats were hoping to move the political debate away from repeal and toward efforts to fix lingering issues.

Republicans have been reluctant to pursue fixes for fear of tacitly embracing the overall law. Obama said that it's "absolutely possible" to make improvements but that it would require a change of attitude from Republicans.

-AP medical writer Carla Johnson in Chicago contributed to this report.

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You may not have heard of the billionaire oil tycoons, Charles and David Koch.

But the Koch Brothers and their special interest friends are reportedly spending as much as $1 Billion this election year to buy our elections and put in place their GREED AGENDA.

The GREED AGENDA is a disaster for middle class Americans. But there are few areas these modern day robber barons assault with more gusto than our natural environment, putting public lands and public health at risk with every flawed policy.

The Koch Brothers’ business has been named one of the top 10 polluters in the United States.

Not surprisingly, their GREED AGENDA includes eliminating the EPA.

The Koch Brothers and their special interest front groups have led the climate change denial movement.

And went to the wall to protect their massive oil subsidies.

Rolling back clean air and clean water laws.
Stonewalling any push toward clean energy.
All so that billionaires can get more tax breaks, and oil men can get more government subsidies.

That’s the GREED AGENDA.

These mega-billionaire special interests may have billions of dollars… but regular Americans have millions of votes.

Get informed! Get involved! And STOP THE GREED AGENDA!

April 19 2014 at 11:35 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to teapartyisdying.uall's comment

April 19 2014 at 11:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply


You’ve worked hard all your life.

You may be counting on a pension, Social Security or Medicare to provide some peace of mind in the coming years. But your security has no place in the GREED AGENDA.

You may not have heard of the mega-billionaire oil tycoon Koch Brothers, billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Americans for Prosperity or the American Legislative Exchange Council. But they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a GREED AGENDA that will put your retirement at risk.

Privatizing Social Security.
Getting rid of defined benefit pensions for workers.

And your retirement benefits are only the first target on their GREED AGENDA. Next, they’re coming after your health care.

Privatizing Medicare, and raising the retirement age for eligibility.
Re-opening the donut hole on prescription drug costs.
And most recently, backing a budget that would transform Medicare into a voucher program that is estimated to cost seniors thousands of dollars in health care.

Why would anyone try to cut billions of dollars out of the programs that have kept American seniors secure for decades... pure GREED.

They want to keep subsidies for super-wealthy oil companies. And they want to keep tax rates down for the ultra-rich while middle class seniors pick up the difference.

Their GREED AGENDA is truly scary.

But while they may have the money, we have the votes, and we have our voice.

Stay informed. Get involved. And Stop The Greed Agenda

April 19 2014 at 11:29 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply


You wear the American uniform, and defend our freedom.

Our nation owes you a lifetime debt of gratitude for the liberty we enjoy. But to a group of billionaire special interests, veterans are pushed aside in pursuit of THE GREED AGENDA.

The billionaire oil tycoon Koch Brothers and other wealthy special interests are reportedly spending $1 Billion on elections, lobbying and public relations on a multi-year plan to expand their profits and their power at the expense of American heroes.

It’s their GREED AGENDA, and the specifics are pretty scary.

These modern day robber barons utilized their massive fortunes in backing an $11 BILLION cut from veterans services, so they could protect their tax breaks and corporate welfare.

What does all of that mean to American veterans?

Cuts in higher education like the G.I. Bill.
$23 Million in cuts to job training and employment programs for veterans.
And they’re not just going after your future job options. They want to roll back your health care as well.

The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity fought for a budget that was estimated to cut billions from veterans’ health care.
And they even fought to eliminate $6.8 million dedicated to helping homeless veterans get back on their feet.

To billionaires like the Koch Brothers, and their special interest front groups like Americans for Prosperity, American patriots are just another obstacle to them raking in more tax breaks and special interest giveaways.
Make no mistake, there is no room for you in the GREED AGENDA of these mega-billionaires.

You can stand up with real American patriots. Take action, and tell the Koch Brothers that our brave men and women are more important than a billion dollar tax giveaway to the special interests.

April 19 2014 at 11:28 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply


Your hard work literally builds our communities from the ground up; but hard work means nothing to THE GREED AGENDA.

They aren’t household names, but mega-billionaires like the oil tycoon Koch Brothers are spending millions on political front groups like Americans for Prosperity, The Heritage Foundation, ALEC and the CATO Institute to silence your voices, threaten your jobs and reduce your quality of life. And they’re among the most aggressive proponents of outsourcing American jobs, all so that billionaires and CEO’s can pocket more profits.

That’s their GREED AGENDA. Maybe you would agree with them – if you were a mega-billionaire too. But we think their GREED AGENDA is awful for the middle class.

They funded opposition to a national transportation bill that some estimates say could create 2.9 million jobs
They’ve pushed a RTW law that could cut your wages by $1,500 and eliminate as many as 3.8 million pensions.

Their GREED AGENDA doesn’t just cut your pay and put your jobs at risk. It also makes your worksites less safe, and even pries into your private medical records to deny benefits when you’re hurt on the job.

They funded a state by state effort to let employers access to your private medical records in cases where you have been injured on the job.
They’re working to take away overtime pay, worker training and prevailing wage protections for workers.

They can be so brazen about their agenda because they don’t believe you have a plan to fight back.

They are betting nearly a billion dollars that you don’t matter. But you can fight back.

Learn more, stay informed, and STOP THE GREED AGENDA

April 19 2014 at 11:27 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply


Your job is running into danger and saving people’s lives. You are true American heroes. But not even American heroes are safe from THE GREED AGENDA!

They aren’t household names, but mega-billionaires like the oil tycoon Koch Brothers are using dozens of political front groups to spend millions of dollars and take away your jobs, your rights and your safety. It’s called THE GREED AGENDA, and the details are worse than you could imagine.

Through Americans for Prosperity and ALEC, they’ve fought for years to shift billions of dollars out of public safety and into special interest tax breaks and giveaways. They want to cut YOUR JOBS, and don’t mind if it makes us all less safe.
They’ve led the fight for risky schemes to privatize fire departments across the nation. In their rush to wring “profits” out of public safety, they don’t care what the consequences are to brave firefighters and the families they protect. Pure, unadulterated GREED.

They’re not just fighting to cut your pay and put your jobs at risk. They’re also working to make your jobs less safe, and even pry into your private medical records to deny benefits when you’re hurt on the job.

They funded a state by state effort to let employers access your private medical records in cases where you have been injured on the job.
Across the country, they’ve authored special interest legislation that takes away Firefighters’ right to bargain for safe staffing levels and much needed equipment. They want to silence the voices of all of you who protect our families.

Why are they so brazen about taking on firefighters? Because they have money. Because they have a plan. Because feeding their GREED AGENDA requires that even our bravest public servants must suffer.

They have a plan. Do you?

Stay informed, and STOP THE GREED AGENDA!

April 19 2014 at 11:26 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

he Greed Agenda

AUG 20, 2012

The oil tycoon Koch Brothers, and other mega-billion special interests have spent decades funding dozens of front groups in pursuit of their agenda. These front groups seek huge tax breaks for these special interests, while making it harder for middle class Americans to achieve the American Dream. This multi-year effort is called THE GREED AGENDA.

Give More Tax Breaks to the Super Rich
Privatize Social Security and Medicare
Suppress Voting Rights for Working and Middle Class Families
Cut Funding for Public Schools In Favor of For-Profit Education
Roll Back Consumer Protections and Important Regulations On Wall Street and Big Banks
Lower Wages for Middle Class Families
Eliminate Workers’ Rights
Block Pay Equity and Health Care Equity For Women.
Continue Special Giveaways to Super-Rich Oil Companies
Privatize Firefighting and Important Public Services
Cut Funding for Veterans’ Services
Protect Special Interest Polluters From Common Sense Regulations, Even If It Increases the Risk of Cancer and Other Fatal Illnesses

April 19 2014 at 11:25 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Evan Barthold is a dunce.

April 19 2014 at 4:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to progressivehoax's comment

Why don't you say it to Evan's face you coward ?

April 19 2014 at 11:21 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Billionaires' Tea Party, The
How Corporate America is Faking a Grassroots Revolution

Shortly after Barack Obama and a Congressional Democrats swept to power promising a new era of hope and change, a citizens protest movement emerged threatening to derail their agenda. The Tea Party was widely hailed as a exercise in grassroots democracy. But others saw it as a classic example of "astroturfing," a public relations charade designed to mimic a populist revolt. Curious to find out for himself, Australian filmmaker Taki Oldham decided to travel into the heart of the movement. The result is this astonishing look at how moneyed elites have been exploiting legitimate voter outrage to advance their own narrow interests. Oldham takes us inside town hall meetings where angry voters parrot insurance industry PR; finds "citizen groups" working to debunk climate change that are funded by big oil companies; and peels back a movement's down-home image to discover a coordinated network of right-wing shadow groups funded by the likes of billionaire ideologue Charles and David Koch. At once a record of our political moment, and a stunning case study in the power of public relations.

(Previously known as AstroTurf Wars.)

Filmmaker Info
Camera, Director, Editor, Producer: Taki Oldham
Voiceover Recording Engineer: Davide Carbone
Additional Editing: Bergen O'Brian
Additional Graphics: Daniel Nicholas

Press Reviews
Vermont Commons

Praise for the Film
"Taki Oldham's documentary is journalism at its best. I wish every American could see it before the election. I just watched it and am even more concerned about the future of our democracy than ever before."
- Wendell Potter | Author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Industry Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans

- George Monbiot | The Guardian

"Essential viewing."
- David Suzuki | Author & Environmentalist

"...Vital viewing at a critical time for the United States of Empire. Regardless of your political leanings, Oldham thoughtfully details how modern political propaganda works in our culture, and ought to be required viewing..."
- Rob Williams | Vermont Commons

"The Billionaires' Tea Party shows us the dangers of astroturfing, the need to keep our eyes open and to carefully examine what we are being shoveled by self-interest groups, politicians, the media and even our friends and family, stressing the importance for critical thinking, rather than a herd mentality."
- Lisa Derrick, Firegoglake

April 19 2014 at 11:55 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

WASHINGTON -- A surge of eleventh-hour enrollments has improved the outlook for Obama's health care law, with more people signing up overall and a much-needed spark of interest among young adults....

LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, right.

April 19 2014 at 11:43 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The desperation of the Obama administration to prop up their disaster of healthcare sham is astounding.


April 19 2014 at 9:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to obamaspartyislying.uall's comment

The TPGOP is desperate they lost the last two presidential elections.

April 19 2014 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to koch_bot's comment

The tea party is owned by billionaires like the Koch brothers. Dunce, it was the popular vote that got Obama into office. The TPGOP doen't have the popular vote because they have the lowest approval rating in congress. The tea party's logic less government is just a ploy to give more power to Corporate America.

April 19 2014 at 11:41 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down

Barthold replying to his own post, now that's priceless.

April 19 2014 at 4:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply