c.2013 New York Times News Service

c.2013 New York Times News Service

Nearly 80,000 people have enrolled in health plans through California’s online marketplace, at a rate of several thousand a day in November — a sizable increase over a month ago, state officials said Thursday.

Especially encouraging, officials said, was the enrollment of young people, who are considered essential to the success of the Obama administration’s health care law.

Shortly after the numbers were released, the board of Covered California, the state exchange, voted against going along with a proposal by President Barack Obama to consider renewing previously canceled plans, saying the move would undermine the state marketplace’s growing success.

California joins at least seven other states that have declined to go along with the proposal, which Obama made after a wave of cancellations across the country created a furor and led to complaints that he had reneged on his promise to let consumers keep plans they liked.

“Delaying the transition is not going to solve a single problem, it just pushes the problem down the road,” Susan Kennedy, a member of the five-person board, said just before the vote. “I actually think it’s going to make a bad situation worse by complicating it further.”

The state’s enrollment figures represent a rare bright spot in the unfolding story of the Affordable Care Act. Its rollout has been troubled by technical problems with the federal health care website, lower-than-expected enrollment and a public outcry over its role in the cancellation of millions of insurance plans.

Officials said more than 10,000 applications for coverage were now being completed each day, with more than 360,000 applications having been completed through Tuesday. Those numbers include people who are also eligible for Medi-Cal, California’s no-cost health insurance program for the poor.

The state’s insurance commissioner, Dave Jones, lambasted the California Covered board’s decision as a “disservice to California’s consumers.”

Jones took issue with the board’s reasoning, saying, “Allowing them to renew as the president has called for will not harm the exchange or the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California, nor will it harm the individual market risk pool.”

Several of the other states that most enthusiastically supported the new health care law, including Massachusetts and New York, have also resisted the president’s proposal, also contending that the move could jeopardize their fledgling state insurance marketplaces.