The question of Obamacare's ultimate success doesn't have just one answer — it has 51.
Each state is its own insurance marketplace, and has its own set of insurance companies selling products within its new insurance exchange. And there's a huge gap in how well the states fared during Obamacare's first open-enrollment window.
The Health and Human Services Department released its final sign-up figures Thursday, and the biggest headline from the report is one we already knew: About 8 million people — more precisely, 8.02 million — picked a plan through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges during the six-month enrollment window.
Roughly 28 percent of them were young adults — not as high as the administration wanted, but apparently not too far out of line with what insurance companies predicted.
Both national totals are important political metrics, but to take stock of where the health care law stands as it approaches the second year of enrollment, the real story is in the states.
Here are the five states that signed up the highest percentage of their eligible residents, based on the Kaiser Family Foundation's estimates of who's eligible for exchange coverage:
1. Vermont (85 percent)
2. California (43 percent)