Only 136 Iowans and 1,370 Illinoisans were able to select an insurance plan in the first month of operation of the Affordable Care Act's online marketplace, according to figures released Wednesday by the Obama administration.

Nationally, 106,185 Americans were able to select plans, the administration said.

The figures are a fraction of the 7 million people the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted would be enrolled in coverage by the end of next year.

The administration also had predicted a half million enrollees nationwide by the end of the first month, according to The Washington Post.

The rollout of the online exchanges has been hampered by the problems with the federally run HealthCare.gov website, and officials had tried to dampen expectations for the first release of figures, warning they would be smaller than what they had hoped for.

Still, supporters of the law said Wednesday it was a step forward.

"While the numbers are not as high as everyone would like, we should all step back, take a deep breath and recognize the significance of these numbers," said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

In addition to the 106,000 who signed up for private plans, another 400,000 were deemed eligible for Medicaid or children's health insurance plans, he said.

"These are hard facts, not rhetoric or politics," he said.

In Iowa, 4,490 had been declared eligible for Medicaid or the children's health insurance program. In Illinois, that figure was 19,447.

Obama administration officials also were upbeat.

"The marketplace is working, and people are enrolling," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on a conference call with reporters.

Still, the figures for Iowa and Illinois demonstrated the impact of the HealthCare.gov problems.

Although 6,104 Iowans had been declared eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan, only 2.2 percent were able to do so. In Illinois, 3.8 percent had done so.

For states that developed their own websites, 21 percent of those declared eligible had been able to select a plan.

Overall, 27,000 had picked a plan through the federally facilitated website, while about 79,000 had done so via state-run websites. People from Iowa and Illinois go through the federal website.

Cliff Gold, chief operating officer for CoOportunity Health, said Wednesday that HealthCare.gov was improving but enrollments had gone only from "a drop to a trickle."

Republican critics, meanwhile, continued to draw attention to people who have had their policies canceled.

"For every person who has gained coverage through Obamacare, 10 people have lost their current coverage because of Obamacare," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said after the numbers were released.  "It should be delayed if not outright repealed for the good of the country. The president should admit what a disaster it is."

The administration has said that it will have the website mostly fixed by the end of the month, but there have been recent reports casting doubts on whether that's achievable.

Administration officials also said that while the number of people who have been able to select a plan thus far is relatively small — just 1.5 percent of projections for first-year enrollment — Obama officials said it surpasses the first month's enrollment in Massachusetts health care reform plan.

(Deirdre Cox Baker contributed to this story.)

(11) comments

Klaatu
Klaatu

FOIA documents show the WH knew in 2009 that this was going to happen and discussed whether to come clean or not. A political decision was made to continue the lie. Now the ******* ******* Obama is saying he will allow the sale of those plans through 2014, but with conditions, and then a year from now, AFTER the midterms we go through this again. I told you lying democrats this was going to happen. You called us liars for telling the truth, and some of you STILL won't own up to your lies and mistakes. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

haphaze

surprise!!!

Betttaxpayer

First the President said the website would be fully operational at the end of November. Then he said it would be "mostly fixed" (whatever that means?). Yesterday the HHS Chief Technology Officer (I'd hate to be that guy!) said they were "working hard" to get the site up and running by the end of November. Whenever you hear someone say they are "working hard" to fix something you can be pretty certain they're not going to meet their deadline.

senor citizen

The POTUS must have designed the sign up website, you'd think he'd have it fixed by now. He is soooo smart.

Navyretired

You can keep your insurance if you want it...hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

Klaatu
Klaatu

It's even worse than that. The Odummy regime is counting Medicaid signups as part of that number, and it is the majority. This is a disaster and I can now say "I told ya' so." Who in their right mind thought you were going to force everyone to buy government mandated insurance loaded with coverage they don't want? Like forced coverage for sex changes and the related therapy involved. Forcing men and elderly women to buy birth control and abortion coverage. This is the perfect example of runaway big government. Millions of people have already had the policies they are comfortable with canceled and are being forced to buy more expensive Odummy policies with higher co-pays,premiums and deductibles. It is exactly what an intelligent person would expect when government thinks it knows what you need more than you do.

zetar

I guess the 2014 election is pretty much in the bag for the GOP then and I'm sure Ted Cruz is measuring the Oval Office for drapes.

Of course, this isn't going to happen. By next year a LOT of people will have signed up and will be very happy.

snowman05

A lot? What like 250 in Iowa? With 100,000 people kicked off their insurance? I give you credit zetar you and Journey never stope believing.

Klaatu
Klaatu

No, it isn't going to happen that way. The system is in collapse because the premiums, deductibles and co-pays are much higher than their old policies. How stupid can you be to think that you can force insurance companies to pay for sex changes, force everyone young and old to buy abortion and birth control coverage, and still do it cheaper? You can't be that dumb, can you?

atlasshrugged

I unfortunately have to agree with Zetar on one point. By next year a LOT of people will have signed up not because they will be happy but because they will have no choice. Also, the Medicaid rolls will continue to swell. And finally, those young people you count on to sign up will not. For $200 a month a single young person would rather spend his/her money on a car payment or a new I-phone and let Obama track them down for the $95.00 a year penalty.

Betttaxpayer

I'm still trying to figure out why gay males are being forced to purchase health insurance that covers maternity care!

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