Carney Still Won't Reveal Number of Enrollees in Obamacare

October 16, 2013

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney once again would not reveal the number of people who have signed up for Obamacare at Wednesday's briefing, saying the numbers would be available in mid-November.

While Obamacare's rollout has been a subject of extreme criticism by media normally friendly to the administration, with people unable to sign up, skyrocketing premiums and websites crashing, Carney tried to counter by giving four positive anecdotes about the law.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the website's problems had caused it to lose nearly 88 percent of visitors in its first two weeks of operation:

JONATHAN KARL: Two factual things on the Affordable Care Act. Can you give us some updated figures on web traffic? You were very free with this in the first few days. so where are we now?

JAY CARNEY: Here's what I can tell you. Today, we are two weeks into the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplace where Americans, regardless of their income, job status or age or health status, can be access quality affordable health coverage they can rely on. Health care reform is more than a website. Across the country, people are getting health insurance. Although the glitches are unacceptable, so is the idea of leaving millions of Americans on their own, including families across the country who now have access to health care that they did not have the two weeks ago.

I noted that on one network today, that there was a suggestion that that network could not find a single story of someone enrolling which was ironic because they're all over the rest of the media, including in Delaware, a small business owner found a plan that costs her $150 less than the cost of her previous plan. These are other media reports, not information we're collecting or disseminating. Kaiser Health News refers to a college student who will pay $70 a month after federal subsidies, the same amount he is currently paying for much broader coverage. He says, 'I'm thrilled to get something this good at that price. It was a complete surprise.' In New Mexico, a business owner got quoted a policy that will save her $1,000 per month. This is the owner of a law firm in New Mexico, and I had mentioned some other stories.

These are the stories that reflect despite the glitches we acknowledge and that absolutely must be fixed, people are getting on and enrolling. They are finding an enormous array of options available to them that weren't available to them in the past. We are focused on consumers here, and consumers are just regular Americans out there who want the option of being able to be buy affordable health insurance. and what we're seeing from the anecdotes that have been reported are that people are finding those options available to them and are excited about them, and the volume that we've seen reflects the fact that the interest is extremely high. And you know, that volume continues. I don't have in front of me, maybe I can find it for you. It continues to be extremely high. 560,000 calls have been made to the marketplace call center, and I'm sure, I just have a lot of material here. I know that the numbers of people coming to the website remain extremely high.

KARL: You'll get the updated numbers.


KARL: Do you have even an estimate for me now, two weeks into this?

CARNEY: We've said repeatedly, Jon, we will release enrollment figures monthly. I would expect the first figures to come in mid-November.

Published under: Jay Carney , Obamacare