Numbers count in measuring the effectiveness of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Certainly the White House is counting on sustained positive momentum for the law after exceeding its sign-up goal for insurance plans under it by Monday, which was yet another of the administration's elastic Obamacare deadlines. And while the 7.1 million total only slightly eclipsed the original target of 7 million by March 31, it was well above the consensus recent projection of 6 million.
But despite that statistical achievement, some other revealing numbers keep casting a negative light on the overreaching health care overhaul, which passed both chambers of Congress without a single Republican vote before President Barack Obama signed it into law four years ago.
For instance ...
33: The percentage of previously uninsured Americans who have signed up for insurance under the Obamacare exchanges, according to a soon-to-be-released study by RAND, a non-partisan think tank. Research by McKinsey, a global consultant firm, pegs that previously uninsured level even lower at 27 percent. So unless both studies are wildly inaccurate, large majorities of those who signed up by Monday previously had health insurance - and some needed to sign up only because they had lost their coverage due to Obamacare.
21: The Washington Post's tally of delays for mandates in the law as the administration persists in issuing constitutionally questionable executive edicts to delay them without legislative approval. The Wall Street Journal puts that number much higher at 38.
37: Politifact's tally of how many times President Barack Obama assured Americans that under the Affordable Care Act, in these or similar words, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it." The president has since apologized for breaking this crucial selling point that he stressed while pitching the massive legislation. He put it this way five months ago: "We weren't as clear as we needed to be in terms of the changes that were taking place."
Yet a costly lack of Affordable Care Act clarity persists - including confusion about how many of those who have signed up on the law's exchanges are paying for their policies.
Bewilderment about the law is also blocking expansions by business leaders understandably wary about what obligations it will ultimately impose upon them - and when.
And assorted non-partisan insurance analysts still warn that without a much higher proportion of young, and thus generally healthier, enrollees in Obamacare plans, their price tags will inevitably soar.
Those troubling realities, however, didn't stop the president from proclaiming Tuesday: "The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay."
He added: "This law is doing what's it's supposed to do."
Actually, what it was "supposed to do" was vastly expand access to health insurance for Americans who didn't already have it without severely disrupting the marketplace for those who "like your plan."
The landmark legislation was also supposed to be implemented according to the letter of the law as written - not routinely subverted by White House fiat.
So yes, that late rise in the number of Obamacare sign-ups does count.
But so do continuing concerns about the law's numerous dangerous side-effects.
Notice about comments:
The Post and Courier is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point.