White House unsure when release of Obamacare sign-up data begins

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

White House spokesman Jay Carney says the administration will provide monthly updates on the number of people who sign up for Obamacare — but won’t say when the updates will begin.

“I’m glad you asked that question, because I want to be clear about it,” Carney told a reporter Oct. 7.

“We will release data on regular monthly intervals, just like it was done in Massachusetts [with their health-sector takeover] and just like it is done in Medicare Part D … [but] I’m not sure when that begins,” he said.

The Obamacare program started Oct. 1, so the firstly arrival of monthly data will come in November.

“People are signing up. … We’re not going to release data on an hourly or weekly basis,” Carney insisted.

Since last week, the White House has refused to provide detailed information about the number of people who successfully registered at the Obamacare online exchanges, or the number of registered people who have subsequently secured health insurance from the regulated health companies.

The information embargo contrasts with the administration’s normal eagerness to quickly release favorable information or to highlight scraps of good news, such as occasional increases in manufacturing-sector hiring.

But numerous media articles suggest that only a very small percentage of people have successfully registered at the Obamacare online exchanges, and even fewer have confirmed the receipt of coverage from the health-insurance companies via the exchanges.

Even media outlets that favor the Obamacare takeover have had difficulty finding people who have navigated the multi-step process.

On Oct. 9, Carney rationalized the week-long failure of the Obamacare online exchanges by blaming unexpectedly high demand. “Nothing like this has been done before. … That is the principle reason there is a problem,” he claimed.

However, Carney admitted Oct. 8 that a design flaw in the site’s software contributed to the problem. The admission came as he described the administration’s effort to fix that process.

Follow Neil on Twitter