Between the federal health insurance exchange opening in October and this Monday's deadline, 7.1 million people enrolled in health insurance through the federal exchange created under the Affordable Care Act.
Over 4 million more enrolled through the Medicaid – though of course none of them are in Texas. And this number will climb even higher throughout the year. Because Medicaid does not have any enrollment deadlines, the Obama administration will spend the coming months focusing its enrollment efforts on the group of people eligible for Medicaid who have not yet enrolled.
The Affordable Care Act's now undeniable success has left opponents of the law floundering – either calling the numbers false, changing the subject, or simply remaining in denial. For instance, Louie Gohmert called the Affordable Care Act “the ultimate April Fools' Day joke.”
Meanwhile, for the first time, support for the Affordable Care Act has surpassed opposition. Currently 49 percent of Americans support the law, while 48 percent do not. It's still a lot of opposition, but the trend suggests that the enrollment numbers are finally having an impact.
Read about the outreach involved in the law's success after the jump.Getting 7.1 million Americans enrolled was not easy. Get Covered America, one of the major players involved in enrollment outreach, created an infographic showing how they and their partners got the word out about enrollment. With over 22,000 outreach and enrollment events, 27,000 volunteers, 2,300 partner organizations and e-mails to 2.5 million consumers, they were able to reach more than 5 million consumers.
Of course, many others contributed, and every effort was important. Obama Administration officials took over 400 interviews in the weeks leading up to the deadline. Obama's appearance on Between Two Ferns was even credited with a 40 percent spike in traffic on HealthCare.gov after it received 33 million views. LeBron James's promotional push was credited with a spike in enrollment among young people as well.
On the last day to enroll, the lines were long – both in person and online. Just on Monday, there were more than 4.8 million visits to HealthCare.gov. According to the Washington Post, “Even after the official cutoff, more than 100,000 people at a time were on HealthCare.gov, the online federal insurance marketplace, into the early morning hours.” But anyone who made a good faith effort on March 31 still have a grace period until mid-April to complete their applications.
Heading into the midterm elections, opponents of the Affordable Care Act will still have their unyielding hatred for it. But they will now have to contend with over 11 million people who have affordable health insurance, many for the first time. And despite the initial troubled roll-out of the law, the main talking point for the last six months – that the law is an unmitigated disaster – is no longer even remotely realistic.
“This law is doing what's it's supposed to do,” a buoyant Obama said on Tuesday. “It's working. It's helping people from coast to coast.”