What a difference six months makes to Obamacare.
A massive flood of health insurance shoppers deluged the government-run exchanges over the weekend and into Monday, rushing to beat the midnight enrollment deadline under the Affordable Care Act.
The influx of up to 1.5 million visitors by noon on the federal HealthCare.gov exchange led to a brief lag in its ability to handle new applications at midday, but that was quickly resolved.
The surge came as a new report suggested that at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have obtained health coverage since the October launch of Obamacare plans and Medicaid marketed by the exchanges. That report also suggested fewer than 1 million previously insured people had been left uninsured because their old plans did not meet new ACA requirements.
Those statistics, which come from a Rand research group survey and other data reported by the Los Angeles Times, are good news for Obamacare advocates, if they are borne out, and will present a political quandary for Republicans who hope to repeal the ACA.
However, it will be weeks before the official enrollment tallies are available following the close of enrollment Monday.
The tsunami of procrastinators to the exchanges seem poised to push nationwide enrollment via the exchanges either to or very close to 7 million people—which was the Obama administration's original estimate last summer.
Hitting that tally would represent a remarkable turnaround from October's disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov and several other state-run exchanges, whose crippled systems were unable to enroll meaningful numbers of people for nearly two months.