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ACA QHPs as of 10/13/14: 7.3M Current8.2M PAID / 9.6M Total

Estimated Total, all sources: appx. 28 Million
(7.3M Exchange QHPs, 8.0M Off-Exchange QHPs, 10.8M Medicaid/CHIP, 1-2M assorted)

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Well isn't this a breath of fresh air!!

WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen refused to shy away from Obamacare on Tuesday in the first televised debate of the New Hampshire Senate race.

Shaheen, one of several vulnerable Democrats up for re-election in November, forcefully defended the health care law moments after Scott Brown, her Republican opponent, said he would fight to repeal it. When specifically asked if Obamacare was a proud achievement, Shaheen responded, "Absolutely."

"I think making sure that almost 100,000 people in New Hampshire have access to health care is real progress for people in this state," Shaheen said.

Good for her!

Many Republicans are caught in a quandary when it comes to the Affordable Care Act. They hate the fact that a black Democrat implemented their own law nationally, they hate poor people getting healthcare coverage at little cost to them and they hate middle-class people getting healthcare coverage at a price they can afford. However, they love getting elected/re-elected. So, what's a good Republican candidate to do?

Well, for Mitch McConnell, many GOP Governors and other Republican candidates, the answer seems obvious: Repeal the Affordable Care Act nationally while at the same time changing the laws at the state level to increase eligibility to the same 138% FPL (Federal Poverty Level) threshold included in the ACA.

Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich, folks:

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio said his comments about a Republican-led Congress being unlikely to repeal the Affordable Care Act — which commentators on the right and left pounced upon Monday — were taken out of context.

...Mr. Kasich, referring to repealing the Affordable Care Act, was quoted as saying “that’s not gonna happen.”

...“I’ve always thought if we got a majority we would repeal Obamacare,’’ he said. “My only point was they’d probably make an accommodation for Medicaid expansion.’’

...It is an open question how expanding Medicaid benefits as generously as the Affordable Care Act allows, to adults earning up to 138 percent of the poverty level, could be paid for without increased taxes and Medicare cost reductions also created by the health care law.

...“I’m in favor of repealing Obamacare,” he repeated. “That’s all I can tell you.’’

Well, let's see here.

Last week the "Healthy Michigan" program (our name for Obamacare Medicaid expansion) had reached around 415,000 enrollees. Today it was announced that this number is around 10,000 higher:

Healthy Michigan Plan Enrollment Statistics

Beneficiaries with Healthy Michigan Plan Coverage: 424,852
(Includes beneficiaries enrolled in health plans and beneficiaries not required to enroll in a health plan.)

*Statistics as of October 20, 2014 
*Updated every Monday at 3 p.m.

Obviously this is fantastic news; the state is up to 88% of the 477,000 Michiganders estimated to be eligible for the program.

However, when you add in the 213,000 residents of Michigan who are receiving tax credits via private healthcare policies through the Affordable Care Act...aka "Obamacare"...that's around 638,000 people who would lose their coverage if the Republican Party were to successfully repeal the law, which they've been dead-set on doing for 4 years now.

Last week I announced that I've started writing occasional pieces for HealthInsurance.org. Today they've published my 2nd entry, which is all about Kentucky, Mitch McConnell and the real-world impact on hundreds of thousands of people that repealing the ACA would have.

UPDATE: In my story, I noted that the Federal Government is picking up 100% of the tab for the expanded Medicaid enrollees for the first 3 years, and then thought that it dropped down to 90% for another 6 years, and then to the normal fed/state split after that (70/30 in the case of Kentucky).

Thanks to David M. for bringing to my attention this correction: The expansion program is an even better deal for the states than I thought, because apparently the Federal share only drops to 90% permanently (well, unless a future Congress messes around with that provision of the ACA, of course).

Things may be slowing down, but some people are still enrolling in 2014 QHPs just 1 month before the 2015 enrollment period opens; 162 Minnesotans from 10/8 - 10/16. In addition, Medicaid/MinnesotaCare has jumped by over 7,000 people:

latest enrollment numbers 

October 16, 2014

Health Coverage Type Cumulative Enrollments
Medical Assistance 224,891
MinnesotaCare 77,612
Qualified Health Plan (QHP) 55,451
TOTAL 357,954

There's been a lot of fuss made about 2015 ACA exchange premium rates not being available at Healthcare.Gov until after the election. The presumption, of course, is that this is being done for political reasons. While this may be true, it could also simply be that there's a lot of different policy figures to plug into the federal system, and some states haven't even finalized their rates yet.

That being said, residents of some states can check out the 2015 premiums now and compare them against their current premium:

IDAHO: Idaho is the only state moving from HC.gov to their own exchange. Idaho residents can check out their 2015 rates directly via the state exchange site.

CALIFORNIA: CoveredCA has 2015 rates available right now as well.

This is absolutely awesome...and extremely frustrating at the same time. Dan Goldberg and his chums at CNY have put together another extremely detailed breakdown of ACA enrollments in New York City, with QHPs, Medicaid and CHIP enrollees sorted out by individual zip code (a pretty herculean task given how many zip codes there are in NYC). Even more interesting (from my perspective, anyway) is that they've managed to get the current enrollment figures--updated through September. Since the NY exchange pointedly informed me back in June that they had no plans to release updated enrollment figures during the off-season at all, this is a huge development from my POV.

The only problem, of course, is that this map only gives the tally for NYC itself (about 8.4 million people total) not the rest of the state (about 19.6 million). Since my data is focused on the state-level numbers, this is frustrating; so close, and yet so far. I suppose I could extrapolate the numbers by multiplying each by 2.3x, but that doesn't work because the demographics are so vastly different between the two.

Anyway, for NYC itself, there's gobs of data-nuggety goodness to be found:

Regular readers may recall my thorough debunking of Sharyll Attkisson's ludicrous claim that only 3.4 million people out of the "38 million" who are "eligible for coverage under Obamacare" have actually received healthcare coverage since the law went into effect.

As I noted, these numbers were just a wee bit off. The "3.4 million" is actually more like "11.8 million", and while the "38 million" is actually reasonably close if you're only including those who were a) uninsured last year and b) who qualify for either Medicaid or tax credits via the ACA exchanges (more like 36.4 million), even this is stupid because no one in the Obama administration, HHS, CMS or the CBO ever claimed that all 36.4 million would be insured in the first year of the exchanges.

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