Health Care, Taxes

Less Than 0.7% of Boulder County Residents Sign Up For Obamacare

Of course, that’s not how the story plays in the Boulder Daily Camera:

More than 2,100 Boulder County residents — nearly 10 percent of the total number statewide — have enrolled in health insurance through Colorado’s new health care marketplace, established this year in compliance with President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, according to county officials.

As of last week, 23,009 Coloradans had enrolled in private health insurance through state exchange Connect for Health Colorado, including 2,183 from Boulder County. According to county officials, 13 percent of Boulder County’s 16,747 uninsured residents had enrolled in private health insurance as of Dec. 14.

The total of 23,009 enrolled through Connect for Health Colorado represents just 0.4 percent of Colorado’s estimated population, according to the United States Census Bureau.

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The Camera’s readers took the article to task in the comments, disputing the characterization of Boulder’s efforts–4th overall in Colorado–as not being all that successful. In addition to pointing out the rather paltry numbers being so prominently touted by the health administrators in Boulder County, they ridiculed the “amazing,” “unprecedented,” and “exciting” response from the county health coverage manager, Mae Hsu.

“…..not words normally associated with the lie and liar of the year,” said one commenter, BoulderNative.

The commenter was referring to the PolitiFact “Lie of the Year” awarded to President Barack Obama on December 12, 2013 by the the Tampa Bay Times’ factchecker:

It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system.

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” President Barack Obama said — many times — of his landmark new law.

But the promise was impossible to keep.

So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong.

Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous, even for its promoter-in-chief. Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting they had been misunderstood all along. The stunning political uproar led to this: a rare presidential apology.

For all of these reasons, PolitiFact has named “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” the Lie of the Year for 2013. Readers in a separate online poll overwhelmingly agreed with the choice.

Other commenters pointed to the ever-changing nature of Obamacare’s effects on both the insured–the ones that were to be able to “keep it”–and newly uninsured, referring to the decision late last week to declare those with canceled plans automatically qualified for a “hardship exemption,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Another commenter on the article pulled out the most salient comparison of numbers that appeared in the Camera article, saying, “Something doesn’t make sense here. 13% of Boulder County’s uninsured residents signed up, and that’s considered ‘high?'”

In November, ProgressNow Colorado and Colorado Consumer Health Initiative stirred controversy with ads they targeted at millenials to encourage them to sign up for the new policies made available under the Affordable Care Act.

ProgressNow Colorado defended the ads’ content and intent, and touted the millions of hits in earned media:

All those hits, however, didn’t win many signups through Connect for Health Colorado, even in a Democratic stronghold like Boulder County. The deadline to sign up for coverage without penalty ends December 23.


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