Hit & Run

Obamacare Enrollment Numbers Will Be "Very Low," According to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

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Whitehouse.gov

We'll finally get a look at some official enrollment numbers for Obamacare's federal exchanges next week. To the surprise of almost no one, Health and Human Services Secretary said today that the actual enrollment totals won't be very high. Sebelius testified on the botched rollout of Obamacare's online insurance portals today. A few details, via Politico:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today acknowledged that long-awaited enrollment figures for the rocky first month of Obamacare will be "very low."

"We intend to give you as much information as we can validate," Sebelius told a Senate Finance Committee hearing where lawmakers from both parties harshly criticized the rollout and her agency's lack of foresight about the massive problems. She said the initial batch of enrollment figures being released next week cover "the first month of enrollment" and will include both Medicaid and health plan numbers in the new insurance exchanges.

So far, the administration, which is directly running Obamacare's insurance exchanges in 36 states, has released some web traffic numbers, the number of applications submitted across all federal and state exchanges, and the number of subsidy calculations performed by the IRS. Federal officials have suggested that the numbers they have released prove there's strong interest in the law. But the administration declined to given any official enrollment totals. 

Both Sebelius and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney previously refused to discuss enrollment figures on the grounds that they didn't have the numbers. Notes from daily meetings in the administration's daily Obamacare "war room" meetings later revealed that senior administration officials had exact numbers for the first few days—with just six individuals successfully enrolling on day one, and a total of 248 enrollments on day two.