NRL News

Tiny number of people have enrolled through

by | Nov 13, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

Healthcare .govIt was like pulling teeth, only harder, but the Obama Administration today reported on the number of people who enrolled in the new health-insurance plans that are offered through the website.

Predictably the numbers were a mess, as was the assurance—qualified under questioning—that the snafu-ridden website would be smoothly running by December 1.

First, the overall total, according to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, was 106,000 for the first month. But only 27,000 came from the 36 states where the federal government is running the exchange. (The remaining 79,000 came from the 15 states and the District of Columbia which have their own marketplaces.)

As the blogger Allahpundit wrote,

“To put that another way, over the 31 days of October, each of the 36 states served by managed to enroll … 24 people per day. …

“The target for total ObamaCare enrollments in October (not including Medicaid) was just shy of 500,000. They got slightly more than 20 percent of the way there.”

Second, The Washington Post reported that “Software problems with the federal online health insurance marketplace, especially in handling high volumes, are proving so stubborn that the system is unlikely to work fully by the end of the month as the White House has promised, according to an official with knowledge of the project.”

But it gets worse because the “solution” is crippled by the same fundamental problem:

“Government workers and tech­nical contractors racing to repair the Web site have concluded, the official said, that the only way for large numbers of Americans to enroll in the health-care plans soon is by using other means so that the online system isn’t overburdened.”

Which, as I asked my wife this morning, are what? According to the Post story, written by Amy Goldstein, Juliet Eilperin, and Lena H. Sun, they “include federal call centers and insurance companies that sell policies directly to customers.” The problem here is that these are “paths that are hobbled for now by some of the same technical problems affecting the federal Web site.”

Getting back to the promise/vow/assurance [fill in the blank] made by President Obama in Dallas last week that the “Web site is already better than it was at the beginning of October, and by the end of this month, we anticipate that it is going to be working the way it is supposed to, all right?”

Actually, no. Todd Park is the chief U.S. technology officer in the executive office of the president. According to Goldstein, Eilperin, and Sun,

“Under questioning later in the hearing from Rep. Blake Fahrenthold (R-Tex.), Park would not guarantee that the Web site would be completely fixed by the end of November.

“Park said the goal is to have working ‘smoothly for the vast majority of Americans,’ but he indicated that it would not necessarily work for everyone.

“When asked directly if the site would be ready, Park said, ‘The team is working really hard to meet that goal.”

Categories: ObamaCare