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The Obama Administration’s Many ObamaCare Excuses

- October 8, 2013

NO ONE IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SEEMS TO KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE SIGNED UP FOR OBAMACARE

Obama Has No Clue Of How Many People Have Enrolled In The ObamaCare Exchanges Since They Opened For Business On October 1. “President Obama doesn't know how many people have signed up for health care insurance since the marketplaces created by his health care law opened on Oct. 1, he said in an interview released Saturday.” (Jennifer Epstein, “Obama Doesn’t Know Number Of People Who’ve Gotten Insurance Through Exchanges,” Politico, 10/5/13)

  • Obama: “Well, I Don’t Have The Numbers Yet.” JULIE PACE: “How many people have actually signed up for insurance this week?” OBAMA: “Well, I don't have the numbers yet.” (President Barack Obama, Interview With The Associated Press’ Julie Pace, Washington, D.C., 10/5/13)

When Asked How Many People Have Signed Up For ObamaCare, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Whose Department Administers ObamaCare, Replied “I Can’t Tell You Because I Don’t Know.” “STEWART: “How many have signed up thus far?” SEC. SEBELIUS: “Fully enrolled?  I can't tell you because I don't know.  We are taking applications on the web, on the phone. We'll be giving monthly reports.” (Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, The Daily Show Interview, 10/8/13)

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Repeatedly Refused To Disclose The Number Of ObamaCare Enrollees, Claiming It’s “Obviously Not [His] Primary Area Of Responsibility.” LEW: “We saw seven million people rush to go on to the web page to find out what are there choices in this new marketplace to buy affordable health care.” WALLACE:  “How many have actually signed up sir?” LEW:  “They have six months to sign up. This is a big decision. I don’t have an exact number.” WALLACE:  “What is the number as the government refused to tell us? I may have noticed this and in fact, I’mnot going to need ObamaCare. The question is how many people have actually signed up?” LEW:  “We know that people take time to make important decisions like this. They go on and compare their options. The fact that so many millions of people rushed to get information is a very good sign. The question about the website, I don't know about you but I sign on and get updates on my software and I get corrections that I have to reupdate my software. For major companies, it is not unique that when you a have very large new software program come out, that people work to clean it up. I usually wait till its .3 or .4 before signing up. So many millions of people rushed to get in because that’s how much interest there is in getting health care.” WALLACE:  “I'm going to ask one last time because, forgive me sir because you haven’t answered it. Do you not know how many people have signed up which would seem to indicate another major software glitch or is it that the number is embarrassingly small?” LEW:  “Chris, our metrics for this week was could people get online, get the information to make an informed decision. They have been getting that information. We are confident they will make the decision, they have six months to make the decision.” WALLACE:  “So, you do you not know or is it that the number is small?” LEW:  “It's obviously not my primary area of responsibility, so my knowing or not knowing is not important.” (Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace, 10/6/13)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “So I Don’t Have Specific Data For You.” CARNEY: “I think you’ve gotten broad numbers about the general interest in the Affordable Care Act site, healthcare.gov, as well as the remarkable interest expressed by callers to the 800 number.  We're in the stage of -- I think we're day three or day four of a 182-day, roughly, process.  So I don't have specific data for you.  What I can tell you is it is irrefutable that there is not great interest.” (White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Press Briefing, Washington D.C., 10/4/13)

  • Carney: “Again, We Don’t Have Those Figures.” CARNEY:  “Again, we don't have those figures.  And like other government programs, we're not going to release them minute-by-minute or day-by-day, but they’ll be collected and aggregated and put out in the kind of timeframe that is normal for this kind of program -- like Medicare and Medicaid and other.” (White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Press Briefing, Washington D.C., 10/4/13)

Carney Again Refused To Give The Number of ObamaCare Enrollees When Asked On Monday: “This Is An Aggregation Process And We’re Not Going To Release Data On An Hourly Or Daily Or Weekly Basis.”  Q: “But you still don’t know how many people have signed up.” CARNEY:  “I’m glad you asked that question because I want to be clear about it.  When it comes to enrollment data -- I want to clear this up -- we will release data on regular monthly intervals, just like was done in Massachusetts and just like what was done and is done when it comes to Medicare Part D.  What I can confirm right now is that people are signing up through federal exchanges.  But we’re not going to be -- this is an aggregation process and we’re not going to release data on an hourly or daily or weekly basis.  We’ll follow models that have existed in previous programs, including a similar program in Massachusetts, including Medicare Part D, which is the most recent federal example of this kind of thing, and release enrollment data on regular monthly intervals.” (White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Press Briefing, Washington D.C., 10/7/13)

National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling Claimed The Administration Does Not Have The Enrollment Data. “A top administration official confirmed Monday morning it could be at least weeks before the public would get an update on enrollments in health plans sold through the federal-run insurance marketplaces. Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, claimed the administration itself doesn’t have a clear view of how many have enrolled.  ‘We’re going to release those numbers monthly like we do with other medical data,’ Sperling said at Monday morning’s POLITICO Playbook Breakfast. ‘The truth is we don’t have that information now.’” (Kyle Cheney and Jason Millman, “ObamaCare Exchange Websites Still Full Of Glitches And Errors,” Politico, 10/7/13)

  • Sperling: “The Truth Is We Don’t Have That Information Now.” (Kyle Cheney and Jason Millman, “ObamaCare Exchange Websites Still Full Of Glitches And Errors,” Politico, 10/7/13)

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS NO PROBLEM PROMOTING A FAKE OBAMACARE ENROLLEE, HOWEVER

Georgia College Student Chad Henderson Told Multiple Press Organizations That He Had Successfully Signed Up For ObamaCare On Its First Day. “Just moments after writing a blog post Thursday morning, about the lack of information on Obamacare enrollees, Enroll America reached out with contact information for Chad Henderson, a 21-year-old in Georgia who had successfully enrolled in coverage on the federal marketplace. It was a little difficult to reach Henderson, mostly because so many other reporters wanted to talk to him. ‘I'm supposed to talk to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in a half hour,’ Henderson said. ‘And The Wall Street Journal is supposed to call.’  Luckily, Henderson managed to squeeze me in for a few minutes. He's a student at Chattanooga State University who lives across the state border in Flintstone, Ga. (population: 3,456). He describes himself as a supporter of President Obama who has anxiously awaited Obamacare's rollout.” (Sarah Kliff, “Meet Chad Henderson, The ObamaCare Enrollee Tons Of Reporters Are Calling,” The Washington Post, 10/3/13)

Henderson Claimed To Have Purchased A $175 Bronze Plan For Himself. “I had to wait like everybody else," he says. ‘Millions of people apparently got on the Web site. It took me til about 3 a.m. to create an account. That was probably the longest thing. After creating an account and getting logged in, it was pretty smooth sailing.’  Henderson purchased a health insurance plan with a $175 monthly premium. While that price does fit in his budget, he was also hoping for a better deal.” (Sarah Kliff, “Meet Chad Henderson, The ObamaCare Enrollee Tons Of Reporters Are Calling,” The Washington Post, 10/3/13)

  • Henderson Also Claimed To Have Enrolled His Father In An ObamaCare Plan. “Chad, 21, previously told HuffPost that he used HealthCare.gov, the federal portal to health insurance exchanges, to create an account, browse health insurance products and enroll in separate plans for himself and his father.” (Jeffrey Young, “Obamacare 'Enrollee' Chad Henderson Now Says He Didn't Sign Up For Coverage,” The Huffington Post, 10/3/13)

Henderson’s Story Was Promoted By The Obama Administration

Both Health And Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius And White House Domestic Policy Council Director Celia Muñoz Retweeted Henderson’s Claim To Have Enrolled In ObamaCare. “HuffPost initially reached Chad after he tweeted ‘enrolled in #Obamacare just now! Looking forward to having affordable healthcare for the first time! @newschannelnine @WRCB @TimesFreePress.’ The Washington Post reported Friday that Enroll America, an organization with ties to the White House that promotes health insurance enrollment, referred other reporters to Chad. Neither Enroll America nor any other organization contacted HuffPost or assisted with contacting Chad.  Chad's Twitter message was shared more than 70 times, including by the Twitter accounts for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Celia Muñoz.” (Jeffrey Young, “Obamacare 'Enrollee' Chad Henderson Now Says He Didn't Sign Up For Coverage,” The Huffington Post, 10/3/13)

Henderson Was Scheduled To Be On A Media Conference Call Hosted By The Department Of Health And Human Services. “No one knows how many people have actually signed up through the federal exchanges. As of Thursday morning, health-care reporters were desperately trying to find even one. Eventually, Chad Henderson was of Georgia was located. He was subsequently interviewed by pretty much every news organization in the country. According to his Facebook page, he was also asked to be on a conference call put on by the Department of Health and Human Services, which suggests that they're not exactly overwhelmed with successful applicants to trot out before the press.” (Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas, “ObamaCare’s Web Site Is Really Bad,” The Washington Post, 10/4/13)

Henderson’s Story Was Shopped To The Press By Obama-Aligned Enroll America. “Just moments after writing a blog post Thursday morning, about the lack of information on Obamacare enrollees, Enroll America reached out with contact information for Chad Henderson, a 21-year-old in Georgia who had successfully enrolled in coverage on the federal marketplace.” (Sarah Kliff, “Meet Chad Henderson, The ObamaCare Enrollee Tons Of Reporters Are Calling,” The Washington Post, 10/3/13)

  • Enroll America’s President Is Anne Filipic, The Former Deputy Director Of The White House Office Of Public Engagement. “Anne Filipic joined Enroll America on Tuesday as its president, leaving her post as the deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. She will lead a multi-million-dollar effort to encourage millions of Americans to sign up for insurance under the new Affordable Care Act.” (Sarah Kliff, “Meet Anne Filipic, The Woman Tasked With Selling ObamaCare,” The Washington Post, 1/15/13)

But Henderson Never Actually Signed Up For ObamaCare

Henderson Abruptly Changed His Story On Friday, Saying He Had Not Actually Signed Up For ObamaCare Yet. “The Georgia college student who basked in national media attention after claiming he and his dad were among the first to enroll in Obamacare is changing his story.  ‘I never said that I had actually purchased a plan,’ said Chad Henderson, 21, who was thrust into the national spotlight after announcing Tuesday on Twitter that he had ‘enrolled in Obamacare.’ He told POLITICO Friday he had been online to shop in the federal exchange, but had never completed the final steps of getting in the health plan.” (Kyle Cheney, “ObamaCare Enrollee In Media Spotlight Hasn’t Completed Signup Process,” Politico, 10/4/13)

  • Henderson Claimed He Meant That He Had “Enrolled In The Marketplace.” “‘I said that I have chosen a plan. I just have not had the time to go through the payment process,’ he said. ‘No, we have not paid for a specific plan. We have, to my understanding, enrolled in the marketplace.’” (Kyle Cheney, “ObamaCare Enrollee In Media Spotlight Hasn’t Completed Signup Process,” Politico, 10/4/13)

The Plan Henderson Originally Claimed To Have Enrolled In Costs $225, Not The $175 Henderson Said He Paid. “Despite walking back his assertions that he enrolled in health insurance Tuesday, Chad maintains that he did look at options and prices and that the $175 monthly cost for himself is the amount he viewed on the website at the time. Reason reported that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, the company Chad told some reporters he chose, charges a 21-year-old non-smoker in his zip code $225 for the plan Chad says he selected; the company's website confirms that. ‘I don't know how to respond to that because that's the number that I saw that night,’ Chad said.” (Jeffrey Young, “Obamacare 'Enrollee' Chad Henderson Now Says He Didn't Sign Up For Coverage,” The Huffington Post, 10/3/13)


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