Fox seized on Vice President Joe Biden's acknowledgement that health care enrollments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) might not reach the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) original estimate of 7 million people, distorting his comments as an admission of failure by the Obama administration. But Biden's remarks merely echoed the CBO's new estimate of health care enrollment, a number that was neither set by the administration nor necessary for the success of the health care law's exchanges.
During an unannounced stop at a coffee house in Washington D.C. on February 19, Biden explained that health care enrollment numbers "may not get to seven million, we may get to five or six, but that's a hell of a start."
On the February 20 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum described Biden's comments as "a new admission on Obamacare -- Vice President Joe Biden conceding yesterday that the administration may not reach the sign-up goal that they set for themselves."
Missing from Fox's report was the fact that the estimate of 7 million health insurance enrollees in the first year was a CBO estimate, not an official goal set by the administration. Though the adminstration embraced the number, it also made clear that the ACA's success was not contingent on reaching it.
In a February 2013 report, the CBO projected that 7 million people would buy health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2014.
In fact, Biden was simply acknowledging the CBO's most recent enrollment projections that "2 million fewer people will gain coverage in 2014 than it had previously expected." According to The Washington Post:
Half of the reduction comes from private insurance sign-ups, where the 2014 projection is reduced from 7 million to 6 million. The other half comes from Medicaid, where the Congressional Budget Office cut its projection of 9 million sign-ups in 2014 down to 8 million.
What's more, the CBO's revised projections still indicate that enrollment is expected to more than double next year and reach 22 million by 2016.
While Fox continues to make every effort to bury the ACA, experts consistently find that the law is successfully providing access to health insurance for millions of Americans who weren't covered before the ACA.