In an effort to further publicly shame the Affordable Care Act as the new federal health care exchanges continue to be implemented, Republican Congressmen have reported that only five people have enrolled in the federal premiums throughout the Washington D.C. area. Two Senators, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), released the report, which has subsequently been covered by conservative news sources such as Fox News. What the Sens. failed to mention, however, is that only five DC residents have completely enrolled and paid for their first month of premiums. Many more have signed up or started the enrollment process, including several small businesses.
In fact, 321 DC residents and 426 small businesses have already selected a health plan through the federal exchanges, according to Politico. The individuals have until Dec. 15 to pay for coverage while the businesses have until Dec. 15 to complete enrollment.
Furthermore, the Senators only reported data from two insurance companies — CareFirst BlueShield, which enrolled two people during October, and Kaiser Permanente, which enrolled three individuals. They did not collect information from other agencies such as UnitedHealthCare or Aetna.
While the Affordable Care Act has had its fair share of problems during its initial months, the fact that only a handful of people have paid for a month of premiums in DC is nothing to worry about in the grand scheme of the legislation’s plan. Only five people have completed enrollment, but it’s only been a month, and anti-Obamacare lawmakers need to give the legislation time to work for needy individuals rather than relentlessly criticizing it in its initial stages.