The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week issued its latest update on Obamacare enrollment, revealing that 3.3 million people had used the new on line marketplaces to select new insurance plans. But the data, as always, didn't include some key information. HHS didn't say, for example, how many of these people had coverage before—or, among the previously insured, what kind of coverage they had. HHS isn't trying to hide information. In most of these instances, it simply doesn't have the information, at least in a way it can reliably analyze.
The data is murky, but it sounds a lot more like success than failure.
Almost 1 million people enrolled at healthcare.gov in the last few weeks. Here's what that tells us—and what it doesn't.
READ: The White House's progress report on Healthcare.gov (they say there is some)
The Department of Health and Human Services just released enrollment figures for Obamacare in October. How you assess them depends entirely upon your baseline and expectations.Here’s the quick summary:
The Obama Administration has spent a lot of time downplaying the problems with healthcare.gov. It hasn’t spent a lot of time talking about the real problems, how extensive they are, or by when it plans to fix them. That changed on Friday, when the Administration made three key announcements during its now-daily conference call on the status of repairs:
President Obama’s Rose Garden speech Monday was supposed to send two messages—one, that he is determined to fix Obamacare’s troubled federal websites and, two, that the law is already helping many people get insurance. I happen to believe both claims, but I doubt the event convinced anybody with doubts.
Republicans spent Tuesday highlighting Obamacare’s opening day glitches. Democrats spent Tuesday highlighting Obamacare’s opening day successes.Both spoke the truth. One truth matters more.
President Obama, President Clinton, and Senator Ted Cruz all spent a lot of time talking about Obamacare on Tuesday.
In the weeks leading up to October 1, Obama Administration officials predicted that healthcare.gov would be functional but glitchy. It didn't happen then but it appears to be happening now. On Monday, the website for purchasing Obmacare insurance policies seemed to work and, for much of the day, it seemed to work well. But technical difficulties and errors stopped at least some users, performance overall lagged when traffic surged, and serious "back end" issues still need attention.