The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein reports that the rosy report on Obamacare numbers coming from the Ministry of Truth isn’t as rosy as they want you to think it is:
With President Obama’s health care law scheduled to begin in earnest when the new year kicks off, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius claimed on a Tuesday conference call that as of Dec. 28, “2.1 million people have enrolled in a private insurance plan” through the program.
Later in the call, Sebelius emphasized that enrollments wouldn’t be completed until individuals paid their first month’s premiums.
But HHS officials still won’t disclose how many of the 2.1 million they claim enrolled through the federal healthcare.gov website or one of the state-based exchanges actually paid for coverage.
Though Sebelius left the call before the question-and-answer session, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille declined several times to provide payment information.
“At this time we don’t have that detailed information,” Bataille said in response to one question. “What I can share with you in terms of the individuals who have paid their premiums that is something that consumers will do directly with their health plans. And as part of the outreach that we have been doing, we have reminded consumers that that is a step that they need to take to confirm enrollment and access their coverage.”
Later in the call, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Bataille if she could at least say with confidence that a “very high percentage” of those 2.1 million had paid.
Instead of answering in the affirmative, Bataille said, “We are confident that those consumers have selected a plan and know what the next steps are for them in terms of securing coverage.”
I know – hard to believe the administration would lie about enrollment numbers right? Seeing as they’ve been so truthful about everything else having to do with this bill to date, including their March target goal for “sign ups”:
A White House adviser backpedaled Tuesday on the target for ObamaCare enrollment, saying the widely cited goal of enrolling 7 million people by the end of March was “never our target number” — though Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius repeatedly has cited the figure.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated earlier this year that 7 million people would likely sign up for health insurance under the new law by the end of open enrollment, and Sebelius has stated the administration’s goal was 7 million enrollees more than once.
However, White House health care adviser Phil Schiliro told MSNBC Tuesday the 7 million estimate was mischaracterized in the media as being the administration’s goal.
“That was never our target number,” Schiliro said. “That was a target that was put out by the Congressional Budget Office and has become the accepted number.”
However, Sebelius told a group of reporters in June the 7 million number was a “realistic target” for sign-ups, and she reiterated that goal in a September interview with NBC News.
“I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014,” Sebelius said.
Another important question in all this? How many healthy people are actually signing up for the so-called “Affordable Care Act”? Well, the White House doesn’t exactly have answers on that, either. Forbes.com’s Avik Roy writes:
The most important thing CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] won’t tell us is the proportion of healthy people, as opposed to sick people, who are signing up for exchange-based coverage. If too many sick people sign up, and not enough healthy people, the average health spend per enrollee will increase, leading to higher premiums that are increasingly unaffordable for average Americans.
Some Obamacare enthusiasts argue that this problem doesn’t matter, because the poor will be protected from rate hikes by taxpayer-funded subsidies. But over time, the subsidies will not be able to keep pace, if healthy people drop out and only sick people by Obamacare-based insurance plans.
And make no mistake: on average, sicker and older people will fare far better under Obamacare than healthy people will. According to an analysis I conducted with colleagues at the Manhattan Institute, older, sicker individuals will benefit most from Obamacare’s exchange subsidies. On the other hand, in many parts of the country, healthier Americans—especially younger ones—will see their premiums double or triple under the law.
Move along here, rubes – nothing to see. Please quit asking questions and get back to work …