While we won't know exactly how many people signed up for Obamacare through the federal exchange this month until mid-January, the state exchanges saw a lot of last-minute sign-ups on the December 23 deadline. So many, in fact, that in the Obamacare deadline has been extended (kind of).
In California, an estimated 27,000 people signed up for insurance through the state's exchange on the 23rd, bringing the number of Obamacare-insured Californians to 400,000. As Sarah Kliff at The Washington Post points out, California was averaging 15,000 sign-ups per day as of last week. Washington and New York saw similarly high sign-up numbers on the 23rd. If the federal exchange numbers follow this trend, Kliff notes, "that will be a pretty quick turn-around from October's dismal showing."
Other states are giving the uninsured a little leeway: Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island have extended their sign-up deadlines until New Year's Eve. California may rack up even more enrollees, as it extended its deadline through the end of the week. And the federal exchange allowed people to sign up on Christmas Eve, despite originally planning to cut everyone off on Monday. Those who at least attempted to do so will be able to complete their applications this week and still get coverage starting January 1.
Charles Gaba (a.k.a "Brainwrap," who's been recording and mapping sign-ups for the past 3 months) estimates that since Obamacare's debut, about 5.8 million people have signed up for private insurance or qualified for Medicaid. (Obviously more people are insured through Medicaid — about 4 million.) But the ACA still has a long way to go: In 2012, 47 million non-elderly Americans were uninsured.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.