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ACA numbers: Subtle differences in the words matter

Kyle Cheney
Kyle Cheney

With the new sign-up numbers coming out of the state and federal exchanges, Politico health care reporter Kyle Cheney reports on what the numbers mean.

Loose characterizations by allies and enemies of how many people have signed up, (more than 7 million as of April 1) have led to rampant – often verifiably incorrect – interpretations in the press. That matters.  The way news reports characterize enrollment could  tilt the national narrative about the health law in a tense election year.

There are subtle but significant differences between the number of people “signed up” for ACA plans and the number actually “enrolled.” And there’s an even greater difference,  for the short term, between the number of enrollees and the number of people who have “coverage.”

Enrolled? Selected? Covered? The semantics matter.

Here’s a tip sheet about what to watch – and listen – for.

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