Late last week the Obama Administration announced that 3 million people had enrolled* in private plans on the ObamaCare exchanges. Although such data about January enrollment was supposed to be released in mid-February—Administration lackeys have previously said that data released prior to the middle of the month isn’t “reliable”—the Administration’s action fit a pattern as I’ve explained elsewhere:
Right now, the Administration treats information about the exchange in a manner that can be charitably described as “politically convenient.” If the data reflects poorly on Obamacare, the Administration finds all sorts of barriers that prevent expediting its release. It releases the data only when it can no longer afford not to and then releases as little as it can get away with.
Amazingly, those barriers vanish into thin air on the rare occurrence when the data can be used to put a positive spin on Obamacare. In such instances, the Administration releases the numbers faster than you can complete the sentence, “If you like your health plan…”
When enrollment numbers were bad, as they were in October and November, they couldn’t be released until the middle of the following month, as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius emphasizes in the video below. But when they hit 2.1 million in December and now 3 million, there was no problem releasing the data early.
The pattern shows that nothing this Administration says about enrollment data can be taken at face value. It also means that the data that we still don’t have—the number of people who have had difficulty enrolling in coverage, how many enrollees have paid their first premium and how many times HHS has failed to transfer crucial information to insurance companies—probably don’t paint a pretty picture.
The House of Representatives passed a bill that would force the White House to release such data. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. For the time being, only pressure from Congress and the media will get the Administration to release more information about the exchanges.
*When the Administration uses the term “enrolled” it means “selected a plan.” Insurers, on the other hand, mean “paid the first premium.” As the Daily Caller notes “Americans are still in the dark about the number of people that have actually purchased [exchange] plans.”