White House Press Secretary Jay Carney admitted Thursday that the Obama administration predicts the October Obamacare enrollment figures to be lower than expected.
“The website's not working well. It hasn't been working well for the first month of the rollout. It's improving daily, but it is not where it needs to be. In large measure because of the problems with the website, the enrollment figures will be even lower than the low numbers that were anticipated,” Carney said.
Below is the full exchange:
Q: And just very quickly, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee over in the House, Dave Camp, has issued a subpoena for enrollment numbers by close of business tomorrow. Is the president or is this White House instructing CMS, HHS to deliver those numbers?
MR. CARNEY: I don't have anything on the subpoena. I would tell you that we're cooperating with Oversight. We've addressed the issue of enrollment numbers. If the purpose is to point out, which I'm sure it is, that enrollment numbers will be low for October — take it from me, they'll be low in October.
We've acknowledged that. They were always going to be low. And that was even when we did not expect the problems with the problems with the website that occurred. So what is our responsibility is to make sure — is to make sure that the data is assessed made accurate before its released publicly because there are so many inputs here when it comes to the collection of data.
So that process will take place. I believe Marilyn Tavenner remarked in a hearing earlier this week that — as we've said before — that that data will be available in the middle of November, which is consistent with the way these kinds of — this kind of data is released for other programs. So that remains our plan.
Q: So she said by mid-November, you're saying by mid-November. That potentially could mean that you may not comply with the subpoena and —
MR. CARNEY: I'm not the counsel so I don't — I haven't — I don't have a response to the subpoena. I can tell you that — or to the reports of the subpoena. I don't — I don't — I haven't seen it myself. But the — we're working on a schedule — I mean, let's just focus again on the purpose of a — of an exercise like that, which is clearly to make political hay out of what we've already acknowledged.
The website's not working well. It hasn't been working well for the first month of the rollout. It's improving daily, but it is not where it needs to be. In large measure because of the problems with the website, the enrollment figures will be even lower than the low numbers that were anticipated because of the nature of these kinds of programs and the way that people tend to enroll when you have a deadline six months later.