Last night, in President Obama's State of the Union address, one of his main talking points was the Affordable Care Act and how much of an impact it's had on Americans' lives: "More than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage," he said. Technically, that's true. But it implies that more than 9 million people who previously didn't have coverage now do. And in reality, we can't know if that's the case. Here's why:
As of Dec. 28, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that nearly 2.2 million people had signed up for private health insurance through the Marketplace. (HHS said last week in a press release that this estimate has since increased to about 3 million people.) The Act has also resulted in about 3.1 million people younger than 26 gaining coverage through their parents' plans. Combining those two figures brings us to 6.1 million, but Obama included another stat in his number: The number of Americans who've signed up for Medicare coverage this year. HHS currently estimates that 3.9 million people have enrolled (which would bring the total to the 9 million-plus Obama quoted)Ã¢â‚¬”but HHS officials confirmed in a Jan. 13 press conference that the 3.9 million number includes both people who were already on Medicaid who renewed, as well as people who qualified for the program for the first time and signed up as a result.