It was meant as a joke, but it turned out to be prescient.
In the cold open of last weekend’s Saturday Night Live episode, one of the comedians dressed up as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, poked fun at the disastrous state of the Obamacare exchange websites.
“Millions of Americans are visiting healthcare.gov, which is great news,” the fake-Sebelius said. “Unfortunately, the sit was only designed to handle six users at a time.”
As it turns out, this is nearly exactly what happened. CNN’s Jason Seher reports:
That’s how many Americans had successfully enrolled in the federal health care exchange by the morning of October 2, according to documents provided to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Notes from a “war room” meeting at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance between administration officials and contractors working on the rollout of HealthCare.gov underscore the beleaguered debut of the online marketplace.
Posted online Thursday by the House committee, the documents indicate that the six enrolled individuals were issued policies from five different insurance companies.
The high-level meeting notes also revealed that although things got better in the second day of enrollment, the numbers were still incredibly underwhelming. “As of yesterday, there were 248 enrollments,” the memo says, with the enrollment figure bolded, as if in celebration of hitting triple-digits.
The new information underscores yet another lie from Obama Administration officials in the days following the Obamacare rollout.
On October 3, after the war room notes had been released, White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked whether there were any “hard enrollment numbers to report.”
“No, we don’t have that data,” Carney said, before demurring to another topic. “And we’re not—we’re focused on improving the consumer experience . . .”
Secretary Sebelius, in an October 7 appearance on the Daily Show, had a chance to set the record straight and come clean about the failure of Obamacare.
“Fully enrolled? I can’t tell you, because I don’t know,” Sebelius told host John Stewart. “We are taking applications on the web, on the phone, we’ll be giving monthly reports, but I can tell you we’ve had not only lots of web hits, hundreds of thousands of accounts created.”
Despite the mounting evidence to the contrary, the White House continues to insist that they cannot release official enrollment statistics.
In a daily press briefing yesterday, NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Carney whether it was “fair to say somebody gets daily updates on enrollment figures.” It was a simple question deserving of a simple, straightforward answer. Instead we got this:
“We’re compiling data,” Carney said. “You can’t—you need to verify it and make it accurate. Obviously the challenges in doing that have been exacerbated by the difficulties with the website. … I suppose that somebody could provide a rough estimate, but the point is you want to get accurate information when you release it publicly. If the purpose of this line of questioning, which I know is of fierce interest to those who never wanted affordable health insurance available to the American people to begin with, is to demonstrate that those numbers are low, we concede that they will be.”
As to just how low the Obama Administration refuses to answer. And that, as they say, is a joke.