Carney on Whether Exchanges Will Have Good Demo Mix: ‘You Can Judge It For Yourselves’

• January 7, 2014 2:59 pm


White House press secretary Jay Carney gave an ambiguous response to a question concerning whether the administration is confident the Obamacare exchanges will be successful Tuesday in the White House press conference.

A reporter asked Carney if the administration does not know the current demographic composition of Obamacare enrollees, does it follow to suggest the White House does not know if the Obamacare exchanges will be successful.

Carney told CBS News reporter Major Garrett yesterday the demographic mix of enrollees is the most important variable to determine whether the new insurance exchanges will function properly.

In a bizarre, winding response the press secretary at first said he was unsure if he understood the question. Carney went on to concede "there needs to be the right [demographic] mix for the marketplaces to be maximally effective" but noticeably avoided stating how confident the administration is that they will achieve proper demographic enrollment.

"We're committed to getting the data to you and you can judge it for yourselves," Carney concluded:

REPORTER: Thanks, Jay. Following up on Jared's question regarding the demographic data, so if the administration doesn't have the demographic data and this is the most — one of the most important factors in determining the success of the exchanges, does it then follow that the administration doesn't know whether these exchanges will be successful or not?

MR. CARNEY: I don't think we would make declarations about where we're going to be on March 31st in October — you know, we can make projections about where we hope to be — but October, November, December or January. The — I'm not even sure I understand your question. We are confident that we are making significant strides when it comes to enrollees and that enrollees represent a lot of Americans from different regions of the country, age groups and circumstances.

But you know, when — the issue here is I guess this is sort of — this is the new thing where we're — you know, we're going to find some problem in the system. Well, first of all, we acknowledge problems when they arise and when they need to be fixed.

We acknowledge that there needs to be the right mix for the marketplaces to be maximally effective. We believe we will achieve that mix. But, you know, we're not going to even imagine or hope that you'll take our word for it. You'll evaluate it as you, you know, see the proof of it when — as you have with the enrollment figures, when the numbers that were obviously terrible in October and gradually improved after that.

So, you know, we'll — we're committed to getting the data to you and you can judge it for yourselves.