Republicans seemed positively gleeful that “only” 40,000 people signed up on healthcare.gov in its first month. House Speaker John Boehner released a statement saying “Above all, this report is a symbol of the failure of the president’s health care law. It is a rolling calamity that must be scrapped.” Senator Marco Rubio called the numbers “abysmal” and said they are “another early warning sign that this legislation … ultimately cannot be fixed.”
First of all, 40,000 people gaining health insurance, often for the first time, is good news. Especially considering the problems with the website, that’s pretty amazing.
Second of all, that number only includes those states that decided not to run their own health insurance exchange. If you include the state exchanges, that number is 106,000 (and a few states are not reporting numbers yet). The states that embraced Obamacare are doing much better.
Third, it does not include people who signed up for expanded Medicaid coverage under Obamacare. At least 440,000 people have signed up for Medicaid through Obamacare. That means that (in total) over half a million people have benefitted from Obamacare in the first month alone.
And finally, one should remember that in the first month of Romneycare in Massachusetts, a whopping 123 people signed up.
UPDATE: According to PolitiFact, Medicare Part D — the GOP’s signature health care plan in 2006 — suffered many of the same problems during rollout as Obamacare. I agree with pollster John Zogby when he points out that the Republicans are spending all their time gloating and mocking, rather than helping to fix any problems that come up during the rollout. What jerks.