Obamacare Enrollments at 3.3 Million, But GOP Criticism Unlikely To Relent

A grim harbinger for the GOP, and a good one for the rest of us — people are signing up for the Affordable Care Act in the millions, and enrollment rates are finally getting on target. That's the big takeaway from an enrollment report released by the Obama administration this week, detailing how January brought 1.2 million new people into the system. This is the first month that figures were strongly on-pace with projected estimates, and brings the to-date total of nationwide ACA enrollees to 3.3 million.

While total enrollment still lags behind initial projections, the on-target month seems to illustrate that drag from the rocky launch of the Healthcare.gov website is in the rear-view mirror. Congressional budget analysis estimates that the number of ACA enrollees should balloon to about six million total by the end of March — still one million less than projected, but a clear sign that despite a slow start, everything is now starting to work as expected.

The GOP has been making little secret of its 2014 midterm electoral strategy lately, haranguing Democrats at every level over the implementation of health care reform. These denouncements run from the misconstrued — the mistaken conclusion a CBO report said the ACA will cost over two million jobs, for example — to the politically limp, harping on the self-evident failures of Healthcare.gov, and ignoring a real possibility that those concerns will ring dusty and hollow come November 2014.

After all, it would seem a high enough climb to get people so upset over a website that it would override their other varied political concerns. That hill gets steeper still as the inconveniences and pains of said faulty website become more and more remote. It's hard, as well, to spin a three percent increase in enrollment for young people (ages 18 to 34) last month into a sign that the whole enterprise will imminently hit a death spiral, however incremental the gains.

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Essentially, the GOP is stuck playing a high-risk game of chicken with the the law's successes. If these positive developments repeat themselves, or even just hold over the next several months — showing steady progress, benefitting millions, to a better tomorrow — the potency of a national congressional campaign against health care could diminish.

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