White House press secretary Jay Carney made a serious admission during Tuesday’s White House press briefing. ABC’s Jon Karl asked Carney if the number of people who enroll in Obamacare is expected to be lower than those that received cancellation notices.
Carney barely answered the question, sheepishly confessing “I think it’s fair to say that the enrollment figures will be low and were going to be low anyway. They will be significantly lower because of the challenges posed by the faulty website.”
The full exchange is available below:
Q: Is the number of people who enroll going to be lower than those that have been receiving cancellation notices?
MR. CARNEY: Jon, I would simply ask you to wait until the data are released. I think it’s fair to say that the enrollment figures will be low and were going to be low anyway. They will be significantly lower because of the challenges posed by the faulty website.
Q: Well, what will that say? I mean, what kind of message is that if more people have received cancellation notices than actually have been able to enroll?
MR. CARNEY: I would say that it would say two things. One, the history of these kinds of programs — and Massachusetts is the best model — show that enrollment is very slow early on. I think there were only 123 people in Massachusetts who enrolled in the first month. And while it’s a small state, it’s a reasonably populous state, and 123 is a very low number.
Now in the end, I think more than 36,000 people enrolled in Massachusetts. So I think as a guidepost, I think that’s a pretty good indicator, even without troubles with the website, of what kind of sort of phased-in process of enrollment we’re likely to see. That lowness will be undoubtedly compounded by the problems with the website that have made it so much harder for individuals to shop and enroll.