Carney: ‘The Website Has Been Functional; It’s Just Been Poorly Functional’

'If you're asking me will enrollment be low, the answer is yes because that was always going to be the case'

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White House press secretary Jay Carney professed the Obamacare website, while glitch-ridden, had simply been “poorly functional” during his briefing Thursday.

“The website has been functional, it’s just been poorly functional,” Carney said.

Pressed about how the administration could fulfill its promise of providing reliable enrollment information by the middle of November when the website wouldn’t be fully functional until Nov. 30, Carney stumbled through an explanation about number inputs coming from different directions before conceding he knew enrollment would be “low.”

“I think if you look at the middle of November as the time when you would release information that couldn’t be finalized before the last day of October, based on the kind of data that’s released for similar kinds of programs, that’s pretty standard practice,” he said. “So you take it all in, you collate it. If you’re asking me will enrollment be low, the answer is yes because that was always going to be the case.”

Full exchange:

PETER ALEXANDER: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified that the administration would not have reliable enrollment information until the middle of next month, which is why it will be provided then. I guess I’m trying to reconcile how there will be reliable information at the middle of next month when in fact the website won’t be finished until the end of next month, which is what they —

JAY CARNEY: Well —

ALEXANDER: Why —

CARNEY: Again, this is shorthand, so I hope you don’t use it in your thing because it misrepresents what we said. The website has been functional; it’s just been poorly functional. It has — people have submitted applications. I think —

ALEXANDER: It has not provided reliable information recently.

CARNEY: Well, the reliability issue has to do with the inputs coming from all different directions, including the — you know, the federal marketplaces but also states, also applications and enrollees — enrollments done by phone and by mail, as well as through in-person enrollment in these centers across the country.

 So, you know, I think if you look at the middle of November as the time when you would release information that couldn’t be finalized before the last day of October, based on the kind of data that’s released for similar kinds of programs, that’s pretty standard practice. So you take it all in, you collate it. If you’re asking me will enrollment be low, the answer is yes because that was always going to be the case.

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