Will Obamacare Hit Its Magic Number?

The finish line is in sight, with one week left in Obamacare enrollment, and all eyes are watching its dramatic conclusion. The original enrollment goal was 7 million citizens, but after the botched launch of, the new target is the Congressional Budget Office's 6 million estimate. Now the Obama administration has stated that it doesn't have a specific target, but, rightly or wrongly, the success of the law's first year will be viewed through the lens of where enrollment finishes relative to the CBO's estimate.

With some surprise, it was announced that enrollment crossed the 5 million mark halfway through March. More importantly, the rate of signup is increasing, with 800,000 through the first two weeks of this month alone. This last minute surge has caused an active debate over where that final number will land.

In this segment from Friday's Market Checkup, Motley Fool health-care analysts David Williamson and Michael Douglass play a game of "over/under," with each arguing their case for where the final Obamacare enrollment tally will fall. They also discuss how the final tally will matter to investors in large insurance stocks WellPoint (NYSE: ANTM  ) , Aetna (NYSE: AET  ) , and Humana (NYSE: HUM  ) in both the short and long terms.

What you need to know about Obamacare
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  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 10:04 PM, Foxnews1022 wrote:

    Whatever the Number is whether its Over 6 million or below that figure Odumber will declare it a Huge Victory & celebrate like it was the 2nd coming of Christ BUT there's a big difference in people just enrolling & people actually Signing up because until you pay you're not officially going to receive Health Care so people need to know the difference or they will believe its actually a success when in reality its not & the It I'm talking about is Odumbercare the biggest sham in the history of America!!

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 10:22 PM, cbchef2003 wrote:

    No way it will, AND, they will NEVER provide the numbers of who PAID, and who piggybacks on the American taxpayer....STOP, with the incessant mindphuck the media as trying to pull, and just give the vOTING public, a solid number to base an honest opinion on.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 12:16 AM, johnwest2 wrote:

    Not to worry if they don't hit the magic number they will just change it to whatever they hit abc news will call it amazing and we will all pay more for less healthcare . If you had a law that was so bad you had to change deadlines on it and give lots of temporary wavers and move it all out just past elections does that mean that it is a bad law or just a coincidence that elections fall a few months or a year before the wavers end it has me Puzzled

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 1:33 AM, RickLV wrote:

    What "magic number"??? More Americans have LOST their insurance than signed up. Is the magic number a negative number? And even Sebilius admitted that they have "no idea" how many Obamacare sign ups actually PAID the premium.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 5:29 AM, Icthelite wrote:

    I think the dead line number will be met even if it means having to do the same thing they did with the vote count in 2012. They'll sign some people up twice and possibly even get a few enrollments off the head stones in their local cemetery.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 8:11 AM, thebroof0000 wrote:

    estimated 47 million un insured americans before obamacare

    6-8 million lose their coverage

    so that make 53-55 million un insured americans.

    6 million enroll - still right around 47 million un insured

    how is that a success?

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 8:34 AM, PaulSell wrote:

    When Barry was asked for a comment about the latest moving of the goal post & the phu*ked up numbers around the deadline and he just burst into the song, ♪♫Don't Worry, Be Happy... ♪♫ Recently when asked specifically about all the "cooking of the books" on OB☭M☭C☭RE ● & enrollment numbers & the CBO job loss report, Kathleen Sebelius, (AKA Mrs. Bagdad Bob), smiled and said, "Pull my finger." When the exact question was also posed to Barry, he tucked in his chin and gave a big toothy smile and said, "I just love that Yahoo picture of me with the Great Seal behind my pointy head, that looks like a halo on me. In addition I just want you all to know, I have a Bic Pen and an Obamaphone."

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 9:08 AM, RLMerrell wrote:

    Why is 6 million important? First it was 7 million. Now 6. What happened to 30 million, 40 and 50? And the Obama admin is hiding the details. We don't know how many have paid. We don't know how many were actually uninsured before. And we don't know how many are being subsidized. So there is absolutely nothing magical about 6 million, other than it seems to be the latest moving target that means success. Would Fool pump a stock like this?

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 10:35 AM, sogole wrote:

    It is NEVER a good idea to force Americans to do anything.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 10:36 AM, JJE90000 wrote:

    I love how most of the news media is rooting for the President. And how they just take the numbers without trying to investigate to see if they are even accurate. And lastly that they are willing to include all of those people that the Obama administration forced from the plan they had (grandfathering clause) instead of only those the law was supposed to help...the uninsured.

    Points to consider:

    1) First it was 7 million, now 6 million and then from Obama - we look at this as a huge success no matter now many people sign up.

    2) Over 6 million people lost their coverage due to grandfathering. From a Democratic survey, approximately 50% were able to get other coverage from a carrier outside of Obamacare, 10% were eligible for Medicaid, 20% will not do anything and 20% will sign up for Obamacare. That is 1.2 million people

    3) In some states, close to 50% who signed up will never access Obamacare. The overall average is 25%-30% or out of the 5 million approximately 1.25 to 1.5 million.

    4) Therefore, only 2.2 to 2.5 million of those who were uninsured now have coverage of 40-50 million. Some reports put it as low as 1 million!!!

    So tell me with only 5% of those who the law was expected to help now have coverage is that a success???

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 10:39 AM, Hyphen007 wrote:

    LOL- 7 million lost their company based insurance. Obamacare has a goal of 6 million or the goal of increasing the number of uninsured by 1 million. LOL.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 11:04 AM, doraglasberg wrote:

    Most of you posters don't know WHAT you are talking about and are simply parroting the lunacy vomited out by the Julie Boonstra's on the Koch payroll.

    Obamacare is here and not's going anywhere.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 12:20 PM, DISKPART wrote:

    I'm sure the Obozo administration will say they hit it

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 1:49 PM, True411 wrote:

    The number was 7 million, not 6 million. CBO is only lowering the bar.

    What happened to the claim that ObamaCare would cover the 35 million without insurance? 7 million is a fail, 6 million is a fail. The current estimate for those that have paid is 4 million. FAIL. FAIL. FAIL.

    Costs are going up this summer. FAIL.

    Deductibles are WAY too high already. FAIL.

    You can't keep your plan. FAIL.

    You might not be able to keep your doctor. FAIL.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 2:06 PM, BTYTWO wrote:

    If Obamacare is the law of the land and every body has to have it then why the magic number?

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 3:21 PM, wfo75080 wrote:

    Last year my son told me he had enrolled in college. I asked him if he had paid yet and he said no.

    I informed him he wasn't enrolled.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 3:26 PM, thecarnivore123 wrote:

    It's always funny to see articles written about the wrong metric. There are only two metrics that matter - the number of paid participants (not signups) and the % of 35 and under. And neither of these numbers is anywhere close to a success.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 9:04 PM, TerryFlowers wrote:

    HR 676 = Healthcare Equality

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare is not the solution to our nation's healthcare challenge. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats seem to have an answer. Healthcare costs have been spiraling out of control for over three decades and something has to be done before it gets to the point that very few will be able to afford medical care. Even businesses are reducing the benefit that they will pay for their employees healthcare. ACA may have slowed the rise in costs but it continues to outpace the rest of the economy.

    The only real solution for our nation is to remove the profit from healthcare. As long as profit is part of the equation there will be a conflict of interest in regard to providing care and the bottom line. All too often it is the patient that suffers as the bottom line so often is the priority.

    HR 676 is a single-payer, true universal healthcare plan. It would leave the medical providers as the owners and operators of their practices in the private sector as not-for-profit entities. It would eliminate the need for the for-profit healthcare insurance industry. The program would be paid for by increasing the Medicare tax to 4.5% (would be less than what most of us pay in insurance premiums now). Businesses would see their taxes rise as well (again would be less than the benefits they currently provide for their employees).

    HR 676 would provide comprehensive medical care at no cost to the patient and would include medical, dental and vision. No co-pays, no deductibles, no out-of-pocket medical bills. This would eliminate the bankruptcies and foreclosures that are the result of medical bills.

    HR 676 sometimes referred to as Improved and Expanded Medicare for All. Research this for yourself. There are a couple of good web sites to go to. One is Healthcare-Now and another is Physicians for a National Healthcare Plan.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 9:12 PM, d4e3r4 wrote:

    Here are 266 reasons why it's OK to laugh at anyone who thought Obamacare was a good idea:

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2014, at 2:52 AM, lyndagroom wrote:

    As I recall the 7 million was the estimate of the CBO, not the administration. Besides there is no real magic number. We are in the beginning of a long process and the numbers will continue to grow. It won't matter how many folks sign up, for the opposition will never back off and accept the reality of the law of the land.

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David Williamson

The Motley Fool's Healthcare Analyst, I specialize in Pharma, Biotech, and how the ACA (Obamacare) is changing the business of healthcare in America. Follow me on Twitter for breaking stock news, policy thoughts, and misc musings...

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