The expectation-setting game was in full swing Tuesday morning as anticipation built for the release of the first government report on Affordable Care Act enrollment. The numbers are expected to be announced mid-week, perhaps as early as Tuesday.
Two reports on Monday suggested the first month of enrollment in private health plans under the ACA might be, at best, only about 20 percent of what was hoped for.
Between 40,000 and 50,000 people have signed up for insurance through Healthcare.gov in the 36 states that didn't build their own sites, according to the Wall Street Journal, and about 50,000 have signed up through 12 of the state exchanges, according to a survey by Avalere Health, a health-care consulting company. The Obama Administration initially expected first-month enrollment to be about 500,000, but major problems with the federal website have left it unusable for much of the past six weeks.
Meanwhile, enrollment of the poor and near poor under the ACA's Medicaid expansion bounded ahead in the first month, even though only half of the states have accepted federal funds for moving citizens who earn up to 133 percent of poverty-level income into the federal insurance system for the poor. Medicaid has enrolled 444,000 people in 10 states through the ACA, according to Avalere. Since that figure represents fewer than half of the 25 states that will report numbers through the government, the official number will certainly be higher.