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ObamaCare Signups Still Well Short Of The Obama Administration’s Goal

- December 11, 2013

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Health And Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: It’s “Correct” That ObamaCare Signups Are 3 Million Short Of 2013 Goal. REPRESENTATIVE JOE PITTS (R-PA): “In October, the AP reported in a September 5 memo sent to you listed monthly enrollment targets for the exchanges, and this memo indicates that your target enrollment number for the end of december is 3.3 million, based on HHS’ release this morning, your department is more than 3 million off their target number, isn't that correct?” KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: “to the end of November that is correct.” (Energy & Commerce Committee, U.S. House, Hearing, 12/11/13)

“The Administration Report Found A Total Of 137,204 People Enrolled In The States Served By The Federal Website By The End Of November, Up From 26,794 In October.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “ObamaCare Signups Still Only A Third Of Official Projections,” The Associated Press, 12/11/13)

  • But Obama “Officials Estimated That 494,620 People Would Sign Up … By October 31.” “In the memo, officials estimated that 494,620 people would sign up for health insurance under the program by Oct. 31. And that was portrayed as a slow start.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Obama Health Target: 500,000 Signups By Oct. 31,” The Associated Press, 10/16/13)
  • “The Memo Projected Enrollment Would Reach 3.3 Million Nationally By Dec. 31.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Obama Health Target: 500,000 Signups By Oct. 31,” The Associated Press, 10/16/13) 
  • The Numbers Fall Way Short Of 39,000 Enrollees A Day To Meet The Administration’s Goal Of Seven Million Enrollees. “The health care exchanges need to average 39,000 enrollees a day to meet the goal of seven million by March 1.” (Sharyl Attkisson, “ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Very Small, Documents Show,” CBS News, 10/31/13)

The Obama Administration Is Trying To Run From The 7 Million People Enrolled Goal They Made For ObamaCare’s First Year Enrollments. “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius once described 7 million new ObamaCare customers in the first year as what ‘success looks like.’ The White House is now trying to affix another label to the estimate: meaningless.” (Carrie Budoff Brown and Jason Millman, “7 Million ObamaCare Customers,” Politico, 12/11/13)

“For Months, The Obama Administration Embraced The Projection  … And Its’s A Steep Climb To Register 7 Million People By The March Deadline.”  “It might be too late. For months, the Obama administration embraced the projection by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as a way to explain enrollment goals, boosting their political significance. But the broken HealthCare.gov website caused the program to lag far behind on signing up customers, and it’s a steep climb to register 7 million people by the March deadline.” (Carrie Budoff Brown and Jason Millman, “7 Million ObamaCare Customers,” Politico, 12/11/13)

  • Health And Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Described The 7 Million Goal As What An ObamaCare Success Would Look Like. “In June, Sebelius described 7 million consumers in the first year as a ‘realistic target.’ One day before HealthCare.gov launched Oct. 1, NBC News asked Sebelius: ‘What does success look like?’ ‘Well, I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014’ she responded.” (Carrie Budoff Brown and Jason Millman, “7 Million ObamaCare Customers,” Politico, 12/11/13)

“The Ramp Up Would Continue At A Pace Of About 1.2 Million A Month Until Enrollment Hit 7 Million In March, The Memo Stated.” (Carrie Budoff Brown and Jason Millman, “7 Million ObamaCare Customers,” Politico, 12/11/13)

The White House Has Dismissed The Memo As “A Thought Experiment.” “A senior White House official said recently that the memo, which was released by the House Ways and Means Committee, was simply a thought experiment.” (Carrie Budoff Brown and Jason Millman, “7 Million ObamaCare Customers,” Politico, 12/11/13)

The New Numbers Released By The Administration Were “Dramatically Below Expectations”

November Enrollment Numbers Are “Less Than One-Third Of The 1.2 Million People Officials Had Originally Projected Would Enroll Nationwide By The End Of November.” “Enrollment statistics from the Health and Human Services Department showed that 364,682 people have signed up for private coverage as of Nov. 30 under the federal health law. Although that’s more than three times the October total, it’s less than one-third of the 1.2 million people officials had originally projected would enroll nationwide by the end of November.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “ObamaCare Signups Still Only A Third Of Official Projections,” The Associated Press, 12/11/13)

Today’s Numbers Were “Still Small.” “New enrollment numbers released this morning show that four times as many people signed up on the federal marketplace for health insurance in November as in October. But the number was still small: 137,000 over the two months ending Nov. 30.” (Lindy Washburn, “Affordable Health Act Enrollments Rise In November,” The Record, 12/11/13)

The November Enrollment Numbers Were “Lackluster.”  “The lackluster numbers do not include new enrollment added after technical repairs to the healthcare.gov website — completed on Nov. 30 — made the shopping experience smoother ‘for the vast majority of users,’ according to Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which runs the federal website.” (Lindy Washburn, “Affordable Health Act Enrollments Rise In November,” The Record, 12/11/13)

The Obama Administration “Have A Very Long Way To Go To Meet This Goal.” “The Obama administration boldly vowed to hit its ambitious target of enrolling 7 million through the ObamaCare health exchanges, despite new sign-up numbers that show it has a very long way to go to meet this goal.” (Dan Mangan, “364,682 Enrolled In ObamaCare Exchanges, Far Shy Of Goal,” CNBC, 12/11/13)

November’s Enrollment Numbers Are “Far Off The Pace Needed To Reach 7 Million.” “It's also far off the pace needed to reach the 7 million total that officials had predicted would be signed up via federal- or state-run insurance marketplaces by the March 31 enrollment deadline for nearly all Americans to have some kind of health coverage or face a tax penalty.” (Dan Mangan, “364,682 Enrolled In ObamaCare Exchanges, Far Shy Of Goal,” CNBC, 12/11/13)

“The Figures Also Illustrate Some Serious Problems Ahead.” “But the figures also illustrate some serious problems ahead:  there’s a huge backlog of consumers who have applied for a plan but not yet picked one, and electronic errors on the computer system’s backend may have left tens of thousands of enrollments in limbo.” (Devin Dwyer, “ObamaCare Report Card: Progress, But Long Climb Ahead,” ABC News, 12/11/13)

Alan Cohen, Chief Strategy Officer Of Liazon: The Enrollment Numbers Have “Been Stunningly, Dramatically Below Expectations.” “Despite the increase in the number of people signing up for insurance, the exchanges have a long way to go to meet their goal of 7 million new insurance customers in the first year, said Alan Cohen, the chief strategy officer of Liazon, which provides health exchanges to private employees. ‘They've been stunningly, dramatically below expectations,’ Cohen said.” (Kelly Kennedy, “Enrollments On Federal And State Exchanges Picked Up After Slow Start In October,” USA Today, 12/11/13)

The Report Is Still Missing Key Information About ObamaCare Enrollees And Whether People Have Officially Signed Up

Once Again, The Administration’s Report Does Not Contain Information On Demographics Which Would Provide A Snapshot Of Future Prices “Of Health Plans In The Marketplaces.” “Federal health officials said last month that they would soon begin to include information about the age and other characteristics of the people signing up, but the report does not contain such demographics. The portrait of the newly insured is important because the price of health plans in the marketplaces will be most stable if they attract young, healthy Americans, along with people who are older, sicker and expensive to insure.” (Amy Goldstein and Lena H. Sun, “Health Insurance Enrollment Up In November,” The Washington Post, 12/11/13)

And Secretary Sebelius Can’t Say How Many ObamaCare Signups Have Actually Paid For Plans. REP. JOE PITTS (R-PA): “Madam secretary, based on current trends it’s likely that more individuals have lost coverage on January 1 than will have gained it under the law. HHS released data this morning stating that approximate 364,000 Americans have selected a plan through a state or federal exchange. Is that correct?” SEBELIUS: “Yes, sir.” REP. PITTS: “Of these 364,000 Americans, do you know how many of those individuals will actually have coverage in effect on January 1, 2014?” SEBELIUS: “Sir, once they pay the their premiums they will have coverage in effect.” REP. PITTS: “So you don't know? These are the ones who just selected a plan but haven't paid the first payment on their premium.” SEBELIUS: “Some may have paid, some of not. we are giving the enrollment numbers.” (Energy & Commerce Committee, U.S. House, Hearing, 12/11/13)

The Obama Administration Expanded The Definition Of ObamaCare Enrollee Numbers To Count Those “Who Have A Plan Sitting In Their Online Shopping Cart.” “When the Obama administration releases health law enrollment figures later this week, though, it will use a more expansive definition. It will count people who have purchased a plan as well as those who have a plan sitting in their online shopping cart but have not yet paid. ‘In the data that will be released this week, ‘enrollment’ will measure people who have filled out an application and selected a qualified health plan in the marketplace,’ said an administration official, who requested anonymity to frankly describe the methodology.’” (Sarah Kliff, “Who Counts As An ObamaCare Enrollee? The Obama Administration Settles On A Definition,” The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog, 11/11/13)

  • Insurers Only Count Enrollees That Have Already Submitted A Payment. “Health insurance plans only count subscribers as enrolled in a health plan once they’ve submited a payment. That is when the carrier sends out a member card and begins paying doctor bills.” (Sarah Kliff, “Who Counts As An ObamaCare Enrollee? The Obama Administration Settles On A Definition,” The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog, 11/11/13)

Despite The Lackluster Signups, The Obama Administration Doubled-Down On Its Goal Of 7 Million Enrollees By April 1

Health And Human Services Director Of The Office Of Health Reform: “We Think We’re On Track, And We Will Reach The Total That We Thought.” “‘No, we think we're on track, and we will reach the total that we thought,’ said Michael Hash, director of the office of health reform in the federal Health and Human Services Department.” (Dan Mangan, “364,682 Enrolled In ObamaCare Exchanges, Far Shy Of Goal,” CNBC, 12/11/13)


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