Obamacare’s ‘Low Expectations’ for Enrollment Spells Trouble for Obama

by Bloomberg News  |  published on November 11, 2014

The Obama administration forecast that as many as 9.9 million people will sign up for health coverage under Obamacare this year, 3 million below a previous estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

Employers aren’t dropping their health benefits in the numbers once anticipated, and programs created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be slower to reach full enrollment than the budget office expects, the Department of Health and Human Services said today in a report. That equates to between 9 million and 9.9 million people enrolled through new government-run insurance markets created by the law.

Coming in below the CBO estimate would undermine the Obama administration’s effort to convince the public that its signature domestic policy initiative is working. It’s possible the administration is just giving itself an easier goal to beat, said Dan Mendelson, the chief executive officer of Avalere Health, a Washington consulting firm.

“If you set low expectations, you’re less likely to disappoint,” he said. “To me, these are low expectations. We expect the numbers to come in higher.”

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