The Washington Post (11/13, Harrison) reports that enrollment on the ACA’s new small-business health insurance marketplaces “has fallen well short of the administration’s expectations,” according to a Government Accountability Report released Thursday. The GAO examined enrollment totals for SHOP exchanges in the 18 states that built their own portals, finding that fewer than 12,000 small businesses signed up for plans during the first eight months. Though the Obama Administration “did not set SHOP-specific goals, the federal watchdog said that number was ‘significantly lower than expected.’” The GAO noted that enrollment numbers for the Federally-administered small-business marketplaces won’t be available from the CMS until next year.

The Washington Times (11/13, Howell) explains that the “Small Business Health Options Programs (SHOPs) were designed to let businesses with 100 or fewer employees — 50 or fewer in some states — buy plans in a special exchange set up just for them, and take advantage of a tax credit for covering their workers.” The Times adds that the GAO report comes just days after the Administration “dramatically scaled back expectations for participation in Obamacare’s individual markets.”

The AP (11/14, Murphy) reports that about 76,000 small business employees “had purchased coverage on 18 exchanges through June 1,” according to the GAO. That figure is “far short of the 2 million workers who were expected to sign up this year.”

The Hill (11/14, Ferris) adds that House Small Business Committee Chair Sam Graves (R-MO), who requested the report, “said Thursday that the data demonstrates the law’s failure for small-business owners and workers.”

Also covering the story are the Business Journals (11/14, Hoover), CNBC (11/13, Mangan), and the Daily Caller (11/14, Hurtubise).

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary