Three months ago, California had six million people with no health insurance; now thanks to Obamacare’s forced cancellations in the individual market, that number has risen to well over seven million (Associated Press says 7,471,000). Yet despite this, the first six weeks of sign-ups on the state’s insurance exchange are pretty paltry – only 59,000 enrolled in new policies out of the 7.4 million uninsured Californians.  This amounts to less than one percent of the uninsured.

Covered California naturally is trumpeting this number.   “A very proud day for Covered California,” says state director Peter Lee.  But if sign-ups remain at this pace, only 360,000 Californians will have signed up by the end of the enrollment period March 31, 2014.  And even if that number is doubled, it comes nowhere close to the 1.1 million California individual health care policyholders who have been told their health care is being cancelled as of December 31, 2013.

The Covered California sign-ups for just the month of October, 30,830, is lower than the number of people losing their insurance who called the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein to complain, which Feinstein said is 30,842.  It would appear that people are more interested in complaining to their elected officials about losing their old plan than surfing Covered California’s webpage to find a new plan.

And now President Obama and congressional Democrats are in full retreat before the outraged hoards who have lost coverage and have let the Democrats know how mad there are.  So now the President wants folks to be able to keep their current plans for at least another year, and some Democrats want even longer.

But the Obama “fix” is a dagger into the heart of Covered California, because their whole market scheme depends on the 1.1 million who lost their plans signing up for the new plans in the exchange.  A frightened politician named Dave Jones, who is California’s Insurance Commissioner, wants the plans extended ala Obama to save his hide and that of other pols up for election in 2014, but to do so plays havoc with the Covered California insurance market.

Confused yet, dear reader?  Sorry it gets worse.  The next shoe to drop will be small businesses where millions are about to learn they cannot keep their existing plans because they do not meet the minimum standards of Obamacare.  Surely Obama will have to retreat on that one too, as well as the penalty for not signing up under the individual mandate.  These retreats will have an obvious consequence, further convincing Americans to avoid the exchanges and not to sign up for new plans, many of which look to be more expensive than what they have now.

So what are we to make of this fiasco?  One would have thought that with California cancellations by the hundreds of thousands, frightened policyholders would flood to the state’s exchange to sign up for new and legal plans.  That is not happening.  While the low sign-ups at the federal level can be blamed on the collapse of the health care website, Covered California’s is working just fine.

The bottom line is this: people are just not sufficiently confident in Obamacare to sign up in the numbers that will be necessary to make the exchanges a viable insurance marketplace.  It is like the yummy dog food that doesn’t sell.  The dogs just don’t like it.