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Steve Hayes: Rosy new Obamacare numbers ‘virtually meaningless’ without payment info [VIDEO]

The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes dismissed President Obama’s optimistic new estimate of 5 million Obamacare enrollees, calling the number “virtually meaningless” without information on how many people have actually paid for — not just selected — a healthcare plan.

Hayes spoke Monday on a Fox News panel with conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer and The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard. As the White House touted new numbers claiming 5 million people have selected plans on Healthcare.gov, the panel “checked up” on the healthcare law as the clock winds down on the open enrollment period.

Krauthammer took umbrage at Obama’s earlier promises that the law would require little or no changes to implement — despite the concerns of many to the contrary.

“Watching him at the time, there were all kinds of problems you were throwing at him,” he told host Bret Baier, referencing an earlier interview between the reporter and the president. “And he pretended everything was explainable.”

“Looking at it now retrospectively, knowing what we know, it is clear that his responses were disinformation, deception to some extent, and dissimulation,” Krauthammer added.

Stoddard took on the administration’s claim of 5 million enrollees. “We still don’t know from HHS whether or not ‘enrollee’ is someone who’s paid an insurance company for a policy is indeed insured,” she noted, “and we don’t know what the effects of all the waivers and extensions have been, so we don’t know how many people in the lack of compliance — how that’s going to change the system.”

Hayes agreed, expressing disbelief that the mainstream media is lending the White House number any credulity. “The 5 million enrollee numbers is nonsense,” he declared. “All of the previous enrollee numbers have been nonsense. When you can’t account for how many people have actually paid the first month’s premium, those numbers become virtually meaningless.”

“We don’t know how many people are actual enrollees,” he asserted. “And I think when historians go back and look at this period of the signups and all the controversy, they’re going to back and say, ‘It’s amazing the media reported these as actual enrollments,’ when they’re not actual enrollments!” (RELATED: How many have paid Obamacare premiums?).

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