The Ups and Downs of Obamacare

Enrollment is on the rise while the percentage of uninsured Americans has decreased.

Posted: 03/12/2014 11:07 AM EDT

The end of the Affordable Care Act's first open enrollment period is in sight and while it's unlikely the original projection of seven million or the downgraded projection of six million will be reached, the news is not all bad.

The Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday announced in a report that as of March 1, more than 4.2 million people have enrolled in health care plans through the exchange marketplaces. In addition, enrollment was up for individuals between the ages of 18 and 34, who are key to keeping health costs affordable because they are more likely to be healthier and less likely to incur high medical bills.

"Now, during this final month of open enrollment, our message to the American people is this: You still have time to get covered, but you’ll want to sign up today,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

Enrollment has continued to grow since the law's rocky rollout last fall and HHS reports that about 943,000 have enrolled in plans in February alone. But only time will tell how many people actually pay their premiums.

A Gallup poll released earlier this week shows that the percentage of uninsured Americans has fallen to a five-year low to 15.9 percent, down from 17.1 percent in the last three months of 2013. For African-Americans, the uninsured rate fell by 2.6 percentage points to 18 percent.

But according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, the health care law continues to be unpopular. Just 35 percent of those polled said it is a good idea compared to 49 percent who say the opposite is true. In addition, 48 percent said they were more likely to vote for a Democrat who supports mending but not ending the law, versus 47 percent who said they were more likely to vote for a Republican who wants to repeal it.

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(Photo: JONATHAN ALCORN/LANDOV)

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