The White House on Friday brushed aside documents showing just six people successfully enrolled online in Obamacare the first day public exchanges launched this month, accusing Republicans of “cherry-picking” data about the botched rollout to the president's signature legislative achievement.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee late Thursday released “war-room” notes from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services internal meetings, which suggest that just a half-dozen people were able to enroll online in new health plans Oct. 1. Just 248 people had signed up through the website by Oct. 3, according to the notes.
Yet White House press secretary Jay Carney said the release was politically motivated and did not reflect the complete enrollment picture.
“I think these are rough figures, notes that were sort of a snapshot in time,” Obama’s top spokesman said.
The administration has encouraged consumers to register by mail and by phone as well as the website is fixed.
Carney said the notes reflected a reality that President Obama has publicly acknowledged: healthcare.gov isn’t meeting expectations.
“If the implication from this disclosure is that the website wasn’t working effectively on Oct. 1— I think that is a dog bites man story,” Carney said. “We know that.”
The administration is attempting to convince the public that the rocky rollout is not indicative of the eventual impact of the Affordable Care Act. The White House has repeatedly compared the early problems to those encountered in Massachusetts when officials implemented a similar law at the state level.
The administration has said it will release official enrollment numbers in mid-November.
But Carney was quick to downplay expectations for that release.
“We don’t expect those numbers to be very high,” Carney said, “and we never did.”
The administration is aiming to enroll 7 million Americans in Obamacare by the end of March.