As the Times goes to press, it appears that enrollment in the new marketplaces created by Obamacare will have reached at least 7 million Americans as the March 31 open enrollment deadline passed (because of an extension, people have more time to sign up, and that number will grow). That was the original projection from the Congressional Budget Office when enrollment began last October. Then, of course, came the botched rollout of healthcare.gov, the federally run enrollment website used in 36 states, including Arkansas. The law's critics howled triumphantly that the law was, as they had predicted, a train wreck. That 7 million was an impossible goal. That nobody wanted the products on offer. That the law was doomed to collapse.
Many questions remain about how well Obamacare will work. The answers will vary in every state, and the big national enrollment numbers won't tell us much. But they do tell us that the dire predictions of several months ago will not come true. While the initial performance of healthcare.gov remains an embarrassing unforced error with both political consequences and real harm to folks attempting to enroll, it appears more and more likely that it will end up being a footnote in the history of the law. A detour on the track, not a wreck of the train.