For months, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius promised that 7 million Americans would eagerly sign up for ObamaCare in its first six months. That is, she said, a “realistic target.”
But in the 10 days since ObamaCare has been “open for business,” Sebelius has been dodging questions about how many actually enrolled through the federal HealthCare.gov exchange — which covers 36 states.
“I can’t tell you. I don’t know,” has been her refrain.
After being pressed by reporters, the administration now says it will only release monthly data.
That makes no sense, since the 14 states running their own ObamaCare exchanges have already released their first week’s enrollment figures.
New York says 40,000 signed up, for example, and California claims 28,000 did so.
The only conceivable explanation for Sebelius’ refusal to do likewise is that the federal enrollment number is embarrassingly small.
The U.K.’s Daily Mail claims administration sources told it that just 51,000 managed to complete an application at the federal exchange in the first week.
At that rate, only a little more than 1 million will be enrolled by the end of March. Even if you add numbers from the states, at the current sign-up pace, enrollment will be just half of what Sebelius promised.
An AP poll confirms that ObamaCare woes are widespread. Less than one in 10 of those who say they visited an ObamaCare exchange were able to sign up.
The administration wants everyone to think that low enrollment numbers are due, ironically, to the crush of interest in ObamaCare, which caused the federal site to crash.
True, the technology problems are genuine, and ongoing.
When Sebelius was in Pittsburgh this week for an ObamaCare enrollment event, those attending spent their time “fruitlessly trying to access the website,” according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
But these glitches have nothing to do with the number of visitors, as various IT experts who’ve looked at the site have since made clear.
Sebelius herself admitted as much when she said she just couldn’t understand why the exchange site wasn’t working at the Pittsburgh event, since she’d had technicians “working around the clock to add capacity.”
And even if it’s true that millions of unique visitors went to the exchange website in the first few days, that doesn’t mean there’s some groundswell of interest in ObamaCare.
Given the hoopla, you’d expect plenty of curiosity seekers who have no intention of buying.
Then there are the 26 million people who currently buy insurance on their own, many of whom are being forced into the exchanges because their current policies don’t comply with ObamaCare’s rules and regulations.
In the end, the biggest problem for ObamaCare isn’t too many visitors overloading its websites, but far too few bothering to buy the overpriced product it’s selling.
Watch Heritage Foundation’s video “Obamacare: More than a Glitch”: