The preliminary numbers are in on ACA. As By Amy Goldstein and Sarah Kliff note in the Washington Post : “Roughly 40,000 Americans have signed up for private insurance through the flawed federal online insurance marketplace since it opened six weeks ago, according to two people with access to the figures.”
This does not include those who have signed up for expanded Medicaid, which has enrolled an additional 440,000. Without additional information, I am assuming that the majority of the 40,000 are those with significant health problems rather than the so-called “invincibles” who must sign up to subsidize their older, sicker counterparts. As Goldstein and Kliff conclude: “Unless enough young, healthy Americans sign up, the cost of coverage is likely to escalate — in turn, discouraging people from getting or keeping coverage.” This gives rise to the “death spiral” that Megan McArdle has been blogging about recently.
Official figures are due any day. However, when they are released, it is unclear how much they will reveal: “One administration official said Monday that the official figure will include people who have paid for a health plan and those who simply picked a plan and put it in their online shopping cart.” This seems more than a bit odd. Imagine if a corporation told stockholders that the revenue figures include (1) real purchases and (2) the purchases that one might imagine would have–or could have–been made if window shoppers stepped up to the cash register. Shareholders would be skeptical. They would sell their stock and exit.