Obamacare Enrollment Down Slightly in 2019

California reported its final Obamacare enrollment figures today, and that just about wraps things up for this year. Via Charles Gaba, here are the final enrollment numbers for the past few years:

Enrollment numbers dropped by about 300,000 from last year, and all of that was due to a decline on the federal exchange. It’s tempting to conclude that the culprit for this is Donald Trump’s efforts to sabotage Obamacare, but the declines began in 2016, when Obama was still in office,¹ and have continued pretty steadily since then. My guess is that they’re most likely due to an improving economy, which has put people back to work and given them access to employer health insurance. This in turn means that every year some number of people will drop out of Obamacare and sign up with their employer plan instead.

But it’s really hard to say for sure. The size of the decline is small (a couple of percent per year); we don’t have Medicaid numbers yet; and as we saw a few days ago, we don’t even know if the total number of uninsured has increased or stayed flat. Given all this, the reason behind the decline on the federal exchange might not even be knowable.

In any case, the size of the year-to-year changes is so small that I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It’s a gnat in the overall health care picture.

¹The 2017 year began in October 2016 and ended in early 2017. That’s all Obama.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate