The federal Obamacare exchange only managed to enroll 26,794 people, even though 35,364 people signed up for health care through California's state-run exchange between October 1 and November 2. Altogether, the 14 state-run exchanges pulled in 79,391 enrollments. And while those numbers include people who have and have not paid their first premium, they also show that where Obamacare had the support of state leaders and a functioning website, it did much better than in federal exchanges.
Here's how all the states stacked up:
And, as a reminder, these are the states that ran their own exchanges: California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia (0 enrollees), Hawaii (0 enrollees), Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts (home of Romneycare, 0 enrollees), Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon (0 enrollees), Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Obviously, the state-run exchanges have been hit-or-miss, while the federal exchange has been mostly a miss.
While the federal exchange numbers represent the bulk of the country — including Texas and Florida, the states with the most uninsured — they also represent Obamacare enrollment under the worst circumstances. Federal exchanges states declined to build their own exchanges, usually because they don't support the Affordable Care Act. They're more likely to be red states and have put rigorous obstacles in place to block the navigator program instituted by the federal government to help people enroll. More importantly, the federal exchange sucks, and sign-ups by phone or in person still go through the same hobbled system.
But the state-run exchanges have everything going for them. All but four of the states running their exchanges are blue, and they've been advertising to encourage people to join. Places like Kentucky have been held up as the gold standard. It hasn't been perfect — Covered Oregon hasn't enrolled a single person in private insurance, and Vermont, Hawaii and Maryland have problems as well. But for the most part, the state-run sites represent the best-case scenarios for Obamacare: willing leadership and a functioning exchange.
The main goal of Obamacare has been to cut down the number of uninsured in America. In 2012, there were more than 45 million uninsured Americans. Below is our a map of how well each state did at enrolling its residents. We took the October ACA enrollments and calculated them as a percentage of the state's 2012 uninsured, according to the Census. The darker the color, the more of the uninsured that were enrolled.
On a state level, if you divide the number of October Obamacare enrollees by the number of uninsured, the top three states are Vermont (3.31 percent), Connecticut (1.37 percent) and Rhode Island (1.04 percent), which all state-run exchanges. Meanwhile the bottom three are New Mexico (0.05 percent), Alaska (0.04 percent) and Mississippi (0.03 percent) — all of which are federal exchange states.
(Maps by Philip Bump.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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