How many uninsured people there were in America prior to Obamacare has been a mystery wrapped in an enigma (see this for an analysis of the misleading figures), ready to be exploited for propaganda purposes. That confusion was not just limited to how many uninsured people there were, but included their demographics and reasons for remaining so, although all of it was continually estimated and discussed and analyzed.
One thing that was clear was that the ACA was supposedly designed to reduce this group’s numbers. You might say that was its stated raison d’être, one that has since been almost lost in the shuffle of doublespeak that constitutes the left’s pep talks about the Obamacare signups.
Another thing that is clear is that, even if you take the administration’s propaganda at face value and put the most pro-Obamacare spin on it, the administration’s figures about the numbers of pre-ACA uninsured as compared to reported signup figures indicate that only a tiny fraction of those previously uninsured are now insured.
As of yesterday [March 31, 2014], based upon the limited data the Obama administration has reluctantly released, only 1.7% of the previously uninsured have enrolled in Obamacare.
I’m not sure the number isn’t at least somewhat higher than 1.7%*, but it certainly is nowhere near the numbers originally predicted or supposedly desired (see the chart here, as well).
Bookworm also offers a reasonable-seeming explanation for the reluctance of at least some of those on the Obamacare fence:
I was speaking to my friend just yesterday about her healthcare and she offered a very interesting observation: She and her husband, the only middle class people in a sea of poverty, are the only people she knows, amongst both friends and acquaintances, who have signed up for Obamacare. The others have no interest in getting health insurance. Even with a subsidy, they don’t want to pay a monthly bill for health insurance. Even a subsidized rate is too onerous when they can get all the free health care they need just by showing up at the local emergency room. Additionally, the ER docs are usually better than any doc who’s willing to belong to whatever plan they can afford. Nor are these people worried about the penalties for refusing to buy Obamacare, since none of them pay taxes.
Not only are the people in my friend’s world refusing to buy Obamacare, they resent it. According to my friend, someone she knows abruptly announced that she’s getting involved in local politics, something she’s never done before. Until recently, this gal was one of those people who just floated along, getting by. Now, though, she’s fired up.
The reason for the sudden passion is unexpected: She’s deeply offended by a law that forces people to buy a product they don’t need — never mind that she might benefit from the product, that she would pay far below market value for the product, or that she’s too poor to be penalized for ignoring this government diktat. The mere fact that the diktat exists runs counter to her notion of individual liberty. Her view of government is that, while it’s fine if it hands out welfare checks and food stamps, it goes beyond the pale when the government uses its power and wealth to coerce activity.
Now that is interesting. I don’t know how many people are going as far as this newly-minted although quite compartmentalized libertarian. But it does seem that even with generous subsidies, Obamacare is too much for a lot of people to whom every single dollar counts, and who know that they can get absolutely free care in the hospital emergency rooms.
[NOTE: *For example, the numbers don't seem to include the previously-uninsured who are newly signed up for Medicaid. Those are very hard-to-estimate numbers, too, because to do so one would need to separate out those new Medicaid enrollees who were only eligible because of Obamacare from the usual new enrollments that regularly occur anyway.
Of course, Medicaid enrollment does not mean a doctor will take the patient. But that's another---although important and related---problem. Health insurance de jure is not the same as healthcare de facto.]