Obamacare Stats and Stories Roll In

This is it. We’re in the last month of open enrollment for coverage through Obamacare this year.

In the coming weeks, we’ll finally begin to get a more complete picture of the largest attempt at health-care reform in U.S. history.

We’ve been scrutinizing and speculating for the last four years, but increasingly we’re able to simply collect evidence on how the Affordable Care Act is playing out in real people’s lives.

Do they have better or worse health coverage than before? Is seeing a doctor — and paying for it — harder or easier? What’s been fixed and what’s been broken in the process?

In a story published Wednesday, I write about how the majority of doctors in the state now use electronic medical records, a requirement of the Affordable Care Act. While the technology is helping to prevent errors and streamline care, it’s also, in some cases, hurting patients.

In addition to the stories, the numbers are continuing to roll in. Obamacare enrollment reached 4 million in the U.S. late last month, but that’s still 3 million short of the Obama administration’s original target for 2014.

In California, enrollment has so far surpassed initial estimates, hitting 828,000 in mid-February. The state’s original goal was to enroll 500,000-700,000 people by March 31.

Still, Covered California is scrambling to enroll more Latinos, who represented 21 percent of sign-ups through the end of January but make up 50 percent of the state’s population.

Enrollment in Los Angeles County has reached nearly 200,000, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

“To put that in a national perspective, if the Los Angeles area were a state, it would have the fifth-highest enrollment in the country,” the article states. “It would trail only the rest of California, Florida, New York and Texas.”

Meanwhile, enrollment in Fresno, Riverside and San Bernardino counties has lagged.

Soon, the numbers will settle — either hitting projections or failing to — but the stories will continue to spool out. We’ll continue to tell them.

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