There's an awful lot in the report released Thursday to point to an extremely successful first run. To start with, the administration is pleased by how many people enrolled—and the population enrolled—and is going out on a limb of suggesting that means premium prices won't see a big hike.
"The risk pool is fundamentally large and varied to support that kind of pricing…in every state," said Mike Hash, director of the office of health reform for the Health and Human Services Department. "We believe … premiums will be stable."That includes about 28 percent in the 18-34 age group, the most coveted demographic for insurers. That success is accounted for in the states that embraced the law and worked the hardest to make it work, but not entirely those states. Utah had a target of 57,000 enrollments, they got nearly 85,000. Among some of the other states that used the federal HealthCare.gov site, a handful, including Idaho, Florida, North Carolina, and Michigan, exceeded expectations. Some of those states, particularly those with big senate or governor races this fall, are worth taking a closer look at.
- Florida enrolled nearly 1 million people, coming in second only to California. Thirty-one percent of them are in the 18-34 group, and 90 percent of them qualified for subsidies.
- North Carolina doubled expectations, enrolling almost 360,000 people. More than 90 percent got the subsidy, and 28 percent are 18-34.
- Michigan has exceeded expectations, with nearly 273,000 new enrollees. Michigan expanded Medicaid, and enrolled an additional 30,428 people in that program and SCHIP during the enrollment period.
Other key states in the Senate race picture exceeded expectations for enrollments: Louisiana, New Hampshire, Colorado, Montana and Georgia.
Repeal is dead as an issue for all but craziest Republicans in the most extreme House districts. No Republican senator or Senate candidate is going to be able to go into a general election arguing that hundreds of thousands of their constituents should lose their health insurance. But they'll always have Benghazi.