The Obama administration released the numbers for those who have selected insurance plans through the maligned Healthcare.gov website and the state exchanges today. As expected, the numbers released were dismal, and misleading.
The administration announced that 106,000 people have selected plans. Roughly 27,000 went through the federal exchange, and roughly 79,000 made their choices from the state exchanges. The 106,000 number is well short of the 500,000 expected enrollees the administration had hoped for. And these numbers represent not just those who have successfully paid for and enrolled in a new health insurance plan, but those with the policy just in their "shopping carts." During a conference call this afternoon, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius refused to state what number of the enrollees had actually paid for their new insurance.
The roughly 27,000 with "selected" plans through Healthcare.gov are still well short of the number of those who have lost their insurance because of Obamacare. According to the Associated Press, 3.5 million Americans have lost their policies. This disappointment comes at the heels of mixed messages on whether or not the federal exchange website is on pace to be fixed by the November 30 deadline.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that an administration official claimed that the system is unlikely to be ready by the deadline. The report was addressed by Assistant to the President and Director of Communications Jennifer Palmieri, who stated that the website would work "for the vast majority of users" by the end of the month. That remains to be seen.
These numbers are misleading and deeply disappointing for a White House with an approval and trust problem.