AP's Kristen Wyatt reported yesterday:
Officials with Connect For Health Colorado said 226 people have signed up for insurance using the exchange, for a total of 305 people getting coverage. That's the tally from the exchange's first week, Oct 1-7.
It's a smaller number than reported in other states running their own exchanges. Kentucky, for example, had more than 18,000 people signed up by Oct. 9, and tiny Rhode Island had 580 signed up by Oct. 3…
Republicans were predictably quick to jump all over on this "failure."
A Republican critic of the new health care law, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner of Yuma, said Colorado numbers are an embarrassment given how much the state spent marketing and explaining Connect For Health Colorado. Gardner cited ads at Denver Broncos games and TV campaigns.
"Look, if you spent $21 million on a bake sale and sold 10 dozen muffins, that would be a complete disaster," Gardner said. [Pols emphasis]
Except, as FOX 31 reports, the lowball figure of Coloradans who have actually completed a purchase of health insurance in the first week of operation of the insurance exchange isn't the whole story:
Connect for Health Colorado, the marketplace associated with the federal Affordable Care Act, saw 162,941 unique visitors during the period between Oct. 1 and Oct. 7, operators reported. Of those, 18,174 people created accounts. [Pols emphasis]
The thing to remember is that consumers shopping for health insurance on Colorado's new insurance exchange are shopping for coverage that begins in 2014. The number of people who sign up in the first few days the site is available, particularly as the inevitable startup kinks are worked out, is not really relevant at all. Far more important are the 18,000+ accounts created by consumers now in the process of selecting plans. A more accurate yardstick of the plan's success will be the number of people covered through exchange-purchased insurance policies by January 1st. By that we mean both 2014 and 2015, by which time officials have set a goal of 136,000 getting coverage through the exchange. The only purpose in harping on the numbers from the first week of shaky operations is to misleadingly disparage the system for political motives.
And really, folks, likening the sale of health insurance to muffins is just an insult to your intelligence.