The Department of Health and Human Services announced on Monday that enrollments in Obamacare marketplaces have hit five million. Meaning that with two weeks until a key deadline, the administration is still a million enrollees short of its most recent goal.
If you look at the graph of enrollments over time, below, you can see that without a dramatic spike in enrollments, that won't happen. Many people expected the pace of enrollments to pick up as the April 1 deadline approached; if it has picked up much, it has been a subtle increase. (Each dot below marks an announced update from HHS. The x-axis is to scale.)
The 6 million figure is admittedly arbitrary. The April 1 date by which the White House wanted to hit that number marks three months into the year, the point at which Americans who have not been insured at all in 2014 face the individual mandate penalty. The CBO derived its 6 million estimate from enrollment trends so that it could evaluate the extent to which the program would work economically. That's a point that President Obama last week said had already been met. In other words, even without hitting the 6 million enrollment mark, Obama feels (publicly) confident that there are enough enrollees to make the system viable.
There's a bit of good news here for MSNBC's Ed Schultz, too. Last December, Schultz loudly proclaimed that there would be 5 million enrollees by March 1. When that didn't happen, he declined to point out his mistake. As it turns out, he was only off by 16 days.