California officials said 400,000 people had enrolled as of Dec. 23 -- up from 107,000 at the end of the November. The Golden State was reporting more than 25,000 enrollments per day last week after averaging 15,000 the week before. In New York, 107,000 people signed up between Dec. 9 and Dec. 23 -- more than enrolled in all of October and November.The surge on Monday, and then on Tuesday's extended deadline, was absolutely palpable. As TPM notes, these are also only the private insurance numbers - 4 million people in addition have become eligible for coverage in Medicaid in states that are accepting the expansion. Republicans have managed to keep enough states out of it to deny health care to millions more.
Connecticut set a record Monday with 6,700 sign-ups, pushing its total above 62,000 after sitting at 24,266 at the end of November. More than 10,000 people enrolled in Washington on Monday -- the total there is now more than 65,000, up from 17,700 in the first two months. Even Oregon, where the website had failed so badly that only 44 people were enrolled by Nov. 30, had upped its enrollment to 12,000 by Tuesday.
When the final numbers come in from all the state-based exchanges as well as the ones run by the federal government, the tally is sure to bite the naysayers in the butt. Luckily for them, most of the naysayers in the media have paychecks depending on their ability to say 'nay' in a million different ways.
Worse yet for the naysayers, the late surge proves one more time that demand for affordable health insurance is overwhelming, and regardless of what the polls say, people who need it are flocking to Obamacare to get it. Millions of people will be able to see a doctor for the first time in who-knows-how-long next year. Millions more who were trying to get by on a house insurance plan masquerading as a health insurance plan will actually be able to use their health insurance. States with the Medicaid expansion will start to bend the cost curve of health care spending better than states without, and people in the states without will be asking why.
Now, I understand that this is sure to have ruined Christmas for tons of media mouthpieces and the rabid Right. If at Thanksgiving, your crazy right wing uncle Todd got the best of you by yapping about the website's early woes, I sure hope you got him back for Christmas. This kind of news is also sure to ruin new years for Republicans - and I'm fairly certain there will be complaints about new year's fireworks lighting into 'O' shapes being a liberal conspiracy to promote Obamacare.
But hey, at the same time, these holidays will bring much needed cheer to millions who needed health insurance but couldn't afford it before. It will finally have America join the rest of the industrialized world in declaring that affordable health care is not a privilege but a right. And the ones whose holidays will have been ruined by the good news on Obamacare will still have great health care. That's what's important.