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Watchdog: Just one Obamacare enrollment on first day

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Obamacare,Judicial Watch,Health Care,Healthcare.gov,Health Care Exchanges,HHS

The horrendous rollout of Obamacare last Oct. 1 was even worse than the administration has revealed, with just one person able to enroll on healthcare.gov, according to new documents uncovered by a public watchdog group.

A 106-page document obtained May 1 by Judicial Watch from the Department of Health and Human Services also showed that a top official was so happy that she thought a second person had succeeded in signing up on day one that she sent out a celebratory email.

“On October 1, 2013, at the end of the first day (4:30), the Senior Advisor at Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Brigid M. Russell, sent out an email to her staff with a subject line celebrating ‘2 enrollments!’ The body copy of the email read: ‘We have our second official FFM enrollment!’” Judicial Watch revealed in their report provided to Secrets.

And on the second day, 48 percent of registrations failed, and most on the site were stuck repeatedly hitting the “refresh” button, attempting to get it to work.

After spending hundreds of millions of dollars to set up the website and seeing it respond poorly, the administration would only concede to errors and now brags that 8 million have succeeded in signing up for the health insurance site.

But the details of just how bad it worked are only now being revealed in the Judicial Watch documents. The documents were recovered under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

“Once again, Judicial Watch is able to get information through FOIA that no one else had gotten -- the specifics about the unmitigated failure of the Obamacare healthcare.gov collapse,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama administration tried to cover this up, Congress failed to follow through, but we managed to get the truth about the $667 billion Obamacare website. Imagine what would have happened to Obamacare if the American people knew only one person was able to enroll on its first day? What other Obamacare failures is President Obama hiding?” added Fitton in a statement.

Here are the other details in the report from Judicial Watch:

— On Oct. 1, there were 43,208 accounts created and 1 enrollment.

— As of Oct. 31, there were 1,319,425 accounts created nationwide — but only 30,512 actual enrollments in Obamacare.

— Official figures contained in the HHS report provide conflicting figures as to the number of enrollments. FFM [Federally Facilitated Marketplace] statistics show 23,259 cumulative to-date applications submitted as of 10/2/13 and 286 completed plan selections. Earlier numbers show 356 enrollments created as of 7pm on 10/2/13 that were completed with Form 834s sent.

— An Oct. 2, email from HHS Special Assistant Marianne Bowen indicated serious problems with congressional enrollments: “The Congressional issue (68 attempts for Direct enrollment) was an issue stemming from incomplete applications being sent through (started, not finished, sent anyway) and the way the issuers are assigning unique numbers. Turns out there were only 4 complete Direct Enrollment applications that went through, the other 64 were not complete.” [The U.S. Congress has approximately 24,000 professional staffers.]

Editor's note: Judicial Watch is representing the Washington Examiner in the newspaper's federal lawsuit seeking access to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau records under FOIA.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.