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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Seven Million

A previous post recounted the many times that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that the Obamacare exchanges were "on track."  She also repeatedly said that the enrollment target was seven million.

"The congressional budget office, Andrea, projected 7 million newly insured by the end of the first open enrollment period. We’re kind of shooting for that target."  
-- Interview with Andrea Mitchell, October 1, 2013.
"I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014."
-- Interview with Nancy Snyderman, September 30, 2013. 
"Our target for this first open enrollment period is to have 7 million newly enrolled individuals throughout the country. We’ll have the ability to, on a very real-time basis, know who is signing up, who’s enrolling, who’s got coverage and whether or not we’re on target to meet those goals."
-- Interview with Sandhya Somashekhar, July 26, 2013
"We're hopeful that 7 million is a realistic target and that we're going to be driving our efforts toward that kind of enrollment effort."
-- Quoted in Modern Healthcare, June 24, 2013.
Politico reports:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius once described 7 million new Obamacare customers in the first year as what “success looks like.”
The White House is now trying to affix another label to the estimate: meaningless.
It might be too late. For months, the Obama administration embraced the projection by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as a way to explain enrollment goals, boosting their political significance. But the broken website caused the program to lag far behind on signing up customers, and it’s a steep climb to register 7 million people by the March deadline.
About 365,000 selected a plan through the state and federal insurance exchanges in the first two months, according to figures released Wednesday, only a fraction of what the administration had estimated.
Republicans are holding up the 7 million figure as the latest example of why Obamacare is failing. They’re comparing it to President Barack Obama’s failed pledge that consumers can keep their insurance plans or doctors if they like them — another case of the administration having to answer for its rhetorical shorthand.
But White House officials — backed up by policy wonks and insurance industry experts — say the figure has very little bearing on whether Obamacare can provide affordable coverage