Guess which New England state already met its 2014 Obamacare goal?

Before the insurance exchanges opened in October 2013, the CBO projected that seven million nationally would sign up for private insurance by the end of the 2014 open enrollment period at the end of March.

They also set targets for each state.

A nutmeg. Why? Because  Connecticut is the Nutmeg state. Copyright © 2007 David Monniaux. Creative Commons.

A nutmeg. Why? Because Connecticut is the Nutmeg State. Copyright © 2007 David Monniaux. Creative Commons.

Only one state has exceeded its target already — Connecticut

As Access Health CT reported:

“CMS projected that Connecticut would enroll a total of 33,000 consumers by the end of the enrollment period. As of December 23, there were 34,295 Connecticut consumers enrolled in private plans through Access Health CT,” said Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT. “This is a tremendous accomplishment; however, our work is far from done. We will continue working to provide even more consumers with access to quality, affordable health care coverage through the duration of open enrollment.”

Since Connecticut has been so successful this early, it’s likely it will have a lot more folks signing up for insurance.

Of course this didn’t happen by accident, and that’s very instructive for all other states.

What did Connecticut do right?

State government runs the marketplace and has been committed to its success.

They reached out to its people, with excellent advertising and materials. Since enrollment started, these feature real stories from people who signed up.

In contrast, Maine (to take one example) has a governor who, to my knowledge, has never given a speech or radio address explaining how the marketplace works and encouraging people to sign up. Instead, Gov. LePage said the IRS, which administers subsidies and fines, was like the Gestapo. Maine has no state exchange because LePage didn’t want one.

(LePage also opposes Medicaid expansion which, in Connecticut, has already signed up at least 28,153 people.)

Connecticut wanted the system to work, so people without insurance could get it.

Here’s just one of Connecticut’s ads.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.