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Obamacare a success so far? Lack of data means it's impossible to say

By Patrick Condon

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Oct. 11 2013 1:45 p.m. MDT

"I am very worried that people will lose faith in the system," said John Foley, an attorney helping Florida residents navigate the system. "Clearly we are losing most if not all of the momentum that was built up leading to open enrollment."

One major exception is Kentucky, where 18,351 people had enrolled by Wednesday. Despite relentless criticism from Kentucky Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has been an enthusiastic adopter of the Affordable Care Act. He believes providing medical coverage can only benefit a state that ranks among the worst in nearly every health measure.

"These people are our friends and neighbors," Beshear said. "They roll the dice and pray they don't get sick."

Kentucky is among the few states that have released information about enrollees, such as their age, family size or employment status. Also largely unknown is what types of coverage are being purchased: lower-end plans with affordable premiums but high deductibles, or more expensive plans with lower deductibles?

A few other state-run exchanges have reported early activity, with the leader being New York, where 40,000 applicants processed by Wednesday. In California, the nation's most populous state, 16,300 applications had been completed by Tuesday — but that was less than in Kentucky, a state with one-tenth the number of uninsured people than California.

But industry insiders say the enrollment system is starting to work more smoothly.

"Going into this, (insurers) were expecting to see some challenges," said Karen Ignagni, head of America's Health Insurance Plans, according to the insurance industry's primary lobbying group. "What people are pleased about is they are seeing progress. ... They would be more worried right now if they were not seeing progress."

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Ricardo Alsonso-Zaldivar and Ben Nuckols in Washington, D.C.; Roger Alford in Frankfort, Ky.; Jonathan J. Cooper in Salem, Ore.; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, La.; Hannah Dreier in Las Vegas; Susan Haigh in Hartford, Conn.; Kelli Kennedy in Miami; Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Wash.; Steve LeBlanc in Boston; Erika Niedowski in Providence, R.I.; Laura Olson in Sacramento, Calif.; Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vt.; Michael Virtanen in Albany, N.Y.; Brian Witte in Annapolis, Md.; and Kristen Wyatt in Denver.

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