Administration will not release number of Obamacare enrollees on opening day

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While the Obama administration has touted the opening of the Obamacare exchanges as a win for Americans, it is not releasing any data on the number of people who successfully enrolled Tuesday.

“We’re not releasing that information yet,” Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, told reporters when pressed for information about the number of people who enrolled in the Obamacare exchanges on a Tuesday conference call.

“We will be releasing enrollment statistics regularly, but we can confirm that people have enrolled both through the state marketplace and the federally-facilitated marketplace,” Tavenner said.

Asked why the government is not releasing information on how many people enrolled Tuesday, Julie Bataille, the director of CMS’ office of communications, said that the data is still being processed.

“I would just point to historical experience getting data and what we have seen with other implementation efforts over time,” Bataille said. “And what we know that it takes some time to pull accurate data and information together so we will be able to do that for you as soon as we can and we’ll make sure we let you know what that schedule will be.”

Some state run exchanges have released data on the number of people who have enrolled. Twenty-four people had enrolled in the Connecticut exchange by noon Tuesday, while the one in Kentucky had processed nearly 1,000, according to USA Today.

“Certainly states can report what they want, these are state-based exchanges and some have reported early enrollment numbers. We have just decided not to release that yet,” Tavenner said.

And despite the widely-reported glitches within the system, CMS officials continue to insist that the online exchanges are ready for primetime.

“The system is ready. As we’ve told you earlier people have been able to completely, successfully complete the application and shop for plans and complete their full enrollment process. So we are ready consumers are having success and we are going to move forward,” Bataille said.

According to CMS, more than 2.8 million people have visited since midnight.

“As we have said before with any new product launch there will be glitches as things unfold and as things arise we will fix them. In this vein we do want to remind consumers who need help that they have several options including contacting our call center which is open 24/7, and we have received more than 81,000 calls so far,” Tavenner said, adding that local in person help is also available.

Tavenner concluded by stressing that Tuesday is only the first day of the program.

“We’re in a marathon, not a sprint,” she said.

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Caroline May