White House Guides Down Obamacare Enrollment Target, Says To Focus On Demographics; Refuses To Give Demographic Data

Tyler Durden's picture

As we reported previously, currently the biggest problem facing Obamacare is the sudden "realization" by as many as half of any given state's enrollees, that in addition to signing up for Obamacare, one also has to make a payment which is rapidly becoming a dealbreaker for many, and leading to total confusion at the doctor's office. However, even if one were to assume that payment is not a major hurdle (after all funding for a subsidized ponzi scheme can always be... further subsidized), there are various other key issues that still remain. Such as the administration's repeatedly stated target of 7 million enrollees by the end of March. Actually wait, it may have been 7 million once upon a time, as in the days before the Healthcare.gov rollout became an unmitigated disaster, but suddenly that bogey no longer exists.

Enter revisionist history:

“That was never our target number. That was a target that came from the Congressional Budget Office, and it has become an accepted number. There’s no magic to the 7 million. What there is magic to is that in the month of December a million Americans signed up for insurance.”

     – White House aide Phil Schiliro, interview on MSNBC, Dec. 31, 2013

Guiding lower? Happens all the time on Wall Street so it was only a matter of time before D.C. started as well. Watch:

The key points from the Jay Carney:

"We're not backing away from a number that we didn't put out originally.... "I think that others noted that 7 million is a fine target, but that that will not determine whether the marketplaces function effectively.... It's important to understand that it is not — that there's not some magic number: 6,999,999 and the system collapses; one more than that and it functions perfectly."

At this point it is worth remembering just how fudged the very definition of "enrolled" is: The White House counts “an enrollee” as anyone who has selected a qualified health plan. “Once someone clicks "enroll" and selects a plan, we consider them enrolled,” a senior White House official said. "We don’t know if they have paid or when they pay the company because it’s a private transaction between the company and the consumer." And as we explained before, up to 50% of "enrollees" haven't actually enrolled by making any payments.

So to summarize: the White House crowed about the 2.1 million Americans who have signed up for insurance either through the federal health-care exchange or state-run exchanges (even if the payment status is unclear). At the same time, Obama's henchmen backed away from the idea that they had suggested a "target" of 7 million enrollees when the enrollment period for 2014 ends in March. As Schiliro put it, "that was never our target number"... even though it was consistently framed, implied and suggested as precisely that.

The question then is: did someone lie? For the answer, we go to the authoritarian source on massaging spin when it comes to the administration: The Bezos Washington Post. Here is what D.C. favorite newspaper had to say:

The 7 million figure did originate as an estimate (not a target) by the CBO. Before HealthCare.gov launched, senior administration officials certainly embraced the number.


Here’s Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaking to reporters last June: “We’re hopeful that 7 million is a realistic target.”


And here she is on Sept. 30, in an interview with NBC News: “I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014.”


Moreover, on Sept. 5, 2013, Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, sent Sebelius a memo titled, “Projected Monthly Enrollment Targets for Health Insurance Marketplaces in 2014.”


The memo offered an estimate of 7,066,000, drawing both on CBO’s estimate and the experience of the universal health plan in Massachusetts, Medicare Part D “and conversations with employers, issuers and states.” It projected that enrollment would be 3.3 million by the end of December.


The 7 million figure, apparently, became less relevant as “a target” or a measure of success when it became clear that the Web site’s problems were making it difficult for people to sign up.


Instead, officials have argued that a more relevant figure is the mix of young and old people. That’s because younger people tend to be healthier and thus have lower medical expenses; if only older people sign up, premiums would soar.

WaPo's conclusion:

Whether or not the administration originally came up with the 7 million figure, officials certainly embraced it as a target in the months leading up to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. We agree that the mix of young and old enrollees is perhaps the more relevant number, but it’s a bit odd at this point for the administration to minimize the 7 million figure.

Ok, so they lied. But if the mix of enrollees, however one defines them, is skewed toward the younger population, all should be forgiven right? Sure. However, there is a tiny problem: the administration refuses to give away the demographic split data! From The Hill:

The White House said Monday that it was still unable to provide the demographic data is describes as a "key element" to evaluating the overall success of ObamaCare.


White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted on Monday that "at this point" the administration did not have information about the makeup of early enrollees in the president's signature legislative program.


But the White House spokesman also pledged to make the data "available as soon as possible."


"If you look at how we've dealt with data as it's become available over the past several months, both good data and bad data, we've done our best to provide it to you when we are confident about the accuracy of it," Carney said.


Healthcare experts have warned of a "death spiral" if not enough young, healthy adults buy into the ObamaCare marketplace to offset the cost of insuring older and sick Americans. A study report by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 4 of 10 enrollees would need to be between 18 and 34 years old to prevent a rise in premiums in subsequent years.

So: first the lies about the definition of enrollment, then the lies about how many actually have insurance, i.e., have paid and are officially enrolled, then the realization that the schedule is hopeless off track and and the need to guide down, but only after misdirection pointing at "good data"...  which just so happens does not exist.

Oh, and something about a "death spiral" if not enough young, healthy... oh wait, look over there: the market is at all time highs (or just below them).

We truly wonder: how much longer will this patented and indefinitely repeated distraction scheme, aimed at the absolutely lowest common denominator, continue to work without a glitch?

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Constitutional Republic's picture

My first Executive Order of 2014:

Fire the bastids who screwed up this new fangled system, every one of them. Starting with you, Mr. O'bomba.

'A fish rots from the head down.'

(Or aim higher: fire the bureaucrats in hock to the international insurance companies who betray every land they occupy).

kaiserhoff's picture

The Bezos Post.  Well done, Tylers.

Must be nice to own an internal Ministry of Propaganda.

Constitutional Republic's picture

Wassup 'kaiserhoff'? Unhappy with the status quo:

Definition of propaganda: ideas or statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are spread in order to help a cause, a political leader, a government, etc.

The Tylers are on a roll with a Happy New Year where years of critical thinking on their part will prove them to be more right than wrong. No propaganda required. Simple honesty and logic will suffice.

Dissent is honorable, particularly when fighting organized, State funded bare faced lies, ie propaganda.


Big Slick's picture

HONESTLY, it amazes me that there are people who think all of this is NOT proceeding exactly as Obama’s puppetmasters have foreseen




zaphod's picture

If Obamacare fails it will be because of all of the racist tea party members and old white republicans, and Bush. Everything in the world is their fault.

The solution will be to force all tea party and similar members into government healthcare as retribution, while allowing an exception for everyone who has supported the democrat party in the past.

Different age, same tune.

Colonel Klink's picture

Sorry not feeding the troll. +1 for being a top knotch cunt.

philipat's picture


Obamacare will fail for the very reason that it neither understands, nor addresses, the fundamental problems with healthcare in the US, which is more than double the cost of other OECD countries yet with worse outcomes. In fact, it is SO poorly designed and implemented that one would be forgiven for thinking that it was actually designed to fail, so that a "Single Payer" system could "Come to the rescue". At that pont, .Gov would control about 65% of The US economy, slightly higher than that well known capitalist enclave; France.

"Enrollment" is the equivalent of putting an item into the cart. Online commerce data shows that around 70% of those putting an item into the cart never actually convert that into a SALE by actually paying for the item.


1.    Medicaid will boom (Unbudgeted). Physicians seeing Medicaid patients will dramatically decline so these patients will present at A&E, the most costly way. This will push up Provider costs which will push up premiums.

2.    The young will not enroll. Why would they when they can now enroll if necessary if they get seriously ill?

3.    That results in "Adverse selection" whereby only the old and those already sick will enroll. That will push up Insurer costs and increase premiums.


4.    The increased premiums will result in even fewer people enrolling going forward, especially the young.

5.  In view of the massively increased premiums, employers will either provide a "Lump sum" plan, similar to a 401K, pay a share of an Obamacare plan or will massively increase co-payments and/or deductibles.

6. Wash, rinse, repeat.



Constitutional Republic's picture

Well said, phil. The bureaucrats, career politicians are exempt, and their fans are ignorant...for now. They can ignore reality. Reality will not ignore them. 

What a bloody shame that millions have been betrayed by the brats.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Where is AmeriKa find asshat like Jay Carney!? Is much worse than is "Bagdad Bob"! Must is go very deep into D.C. sewer system to find some kind of crap.

GetZeeGold's picture



It's soooooooo good..........it's a secret.

MarsInScorpio's picture

Please note that Carney is growing a beard. It is my expeience that when men or women make a dramatic change in their facial (beards or other facial hair - either growing or removing it) or hair appearence (women - dramatic hair style and/or color changes), it is because they are going through some sort of personality change, and they change their self-presentation image as a response to the personality changes.


I believe that Jay Carney is at the edge of wigging out - as are most of the WH staff members. Even for a seasoned pathological liar, the relentless facing of the truth contrasted to their constantly changing lies presents incredible psychological pressures. You know you are lying, everyone looking at you knows you are lying, you are constatntly changing lies, ao everyone knows even moreso that you are a constant liar. It's ever tougher to face those people, knowing they know you are scum.


This is an outward sign of that personality change.


Stay tuned - film at 11.


kralizec's picture

Progressives are a lot like sewer rats...and just as hard to get rid of.  Short of napalm I am out of ideas...

boogerbently's picture

"It's important to understand that it is not — that there's not some magic number: 6,999,999 and the system collapses"


By their own admission, it needs 30 million to work.

Temporalist's picture

Phillipat I can see there being a supplement to the ACA where in order to protect this shiny new policy they will start forcing retired Drs. back into practices and they will start pulling all potential doctors from grade school to ensure there will be a constant flow of qualified candidates in the medical field.


See, simple fixes to complex problems.


Also, the rich will have to pay more, because that is also a simple solution, and if you can't afford to pay you can join the armed forces or the American Youth Obama Club and do public service like signing up the homeless and indigent to ACA.

philipat's picture

They will probably try to force all Doctors to accept Medicaid patients as a condition for a License renewal. Problem with that is that Licenses are issued by the States. And, as we know, all politics is "Local", so I doubt that the politicians would have the cojones to try and force that one through. If they also want to be re-elected, that is.

Getting sent to prison is an increasingly attractive option also. Free Healthcare and accomodation thrown in. Perhaps that is why The US has 25% of the world's incarcerated population. It means sacrificing a little freedom but the NSA has already taken care of that anyway.

The net result of all this will be that, one way or the other, The FSA will get free healthcare, paid for by the already struggling middle class. Those who previously did not have healthcare insurance will be covered and many of those who previously had comprehensive employer coverage or paid their own way, will not. There would have been better ways of providing cover to the uninsured but, of course, this is .Gov and is "Here to help you".

The impact of all this on the budget deficit is going to be enormous. But, of course, the downside of democracy (The tyranny of the majority) is that if over 50% of the "Electorate" have joined the FSA in one way or another, it is very difficult to put an end to it. The only possible end to all this is, in the immortal words of Margaret Thatcher: "The problem with socialism is that, eventually, you run out of other peoples' money".

As France is now having to face up to.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Phillipat, the WHO says US healthcare sucks because they are statist fuckheads who like to see everything nationalized, like it is in their favorite countries. When you look at the outcome stats' composition the health care suppliers in the USA rank number one in everything they treat.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

"Won't Get Fooled Again" - The WHO

philipat's picture

Can I suggest that you check your facts. Let's start with two universal basic parameters: Life expectancy and infant mortality.....

You are, of course, entitled to your own opinions. But not your own facts.

boogerbently's picture

It won't survive to that point.

There's enough evidence NOW that too many American voters are adversely affected to support Dem success in the next election.

quasimodo's picture

What baffles me is that there are at least 5 folks that up arrowed him/her/it

Constitutional Republic's picture


Political operatives bring along their friends for back up in case the crowd turns ugly. Ugly true facts are admired at ZH, and that's what frightens manipulators. Poor lambs, the apparatchiks...led to the slaughter, but ensuring their own pay check no matter how many millions suffer for their complacence.

philipat's picture

That's the entire audience of MSNBC?

Constitutional Republic's picture


'Obamacare' HAS failed. Do try to keep up with reality, apparatchik. Perhaps you might then live in the economy occupied by most people instead of your political bubble...about to go Pop. Pun intended, not that you'll 'get it', dude.

Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

Con-Repub, it was never ment to work. It's a gateway drug to single payer, with the option of garnishing your wages from the IRS. Why do you think they let this thing fail so hard? All of the health insurance companies will be the private contractors who run the plans for the GOVT, making money without handling the risk. Owe money, and they will garnish way more than your salad....

secured_party-creditor's picture

Buy an Almanac, white America put Obama in office.. It's the liberal, "gov help me with every aspect of my miserable life" that's f$$ked up American culture..

boogerbently's picture

1) Obamas "claimed" plan falls short.

2) The idea that SOMETHING new is needed assumed obvious.

3) The GOP fails to get support to just kill obamacare.

4) Hillary comes sweeping in with "the fix".

then "all is right in socialism land".

kaiserhoff's picture

Reading comprehension skills are good to have.

The reference was to Jeff Bezos take over of the Washington Post. 


Doña K's picture

Writing skills are good to have as well as you left yourself open for misinterpretation.

You do not deserve the down arrows but, when you have to speed-read through hundreds of comments, commas, periods, syntax and sarcasm can be missed.

jcaz's picture

Wowwwwwww..... That there is wunna them attempts at counter-proproganda.....

Genius....   Ur too smart for us, Kaiser......

kaiserhoff's picture

It appears so.

Not everything on ZH is sarcasm, but it is trending that way.

There is no fool proof method to avoid being misunderstood on a blog.  But it helps if people actually read the articles now and then and try to understand the context.

NoDebt's picture

Wait, are we talking about the number of people who got coverage under Obamacare or the number of people who lost their previous coverage, never to return?  If it's the latter, 7 million EASILY.

Thing1Thing2's picture

It's the total number people that called 1-800-FUCKYO thinking there was a phone sex operator on the line.

Colonel Klink's picture

I wouldn't trust this administration if they tried to tell me water was wet.  IMPEACH THIS FUCKER FOR LYING TO THE NATION!

NoDebt's picture

That's the spirit.  Now you sound like me.  It's fun to demand things that are never going to happen.

Obama could shoot a 10 year old blind girl dead in the Rose Garden and nobody would lift a finger against him.  You think a little insurance screw-up is going to get it done?

Colonel Klink's picture

I was trying to add cover up after cover up, scandal after scandal, gun running, violating the Constitution, drone murder, and the list just goes on and on.

What a scum sucking piece of shit he turned out to be.  CONgress DO YOUR GOD DAMNED JOB!


OK I feel better now.  No doubt No Debt, it's amazing that his tan skin allows him to fuck this nation blind and those who's responsibility to the Constitution are AWOL.

NoDebt's picture

I need to let you in on a little secret that I think show how opinions have changed about this guy, even on ZH.....

That whole 10 year old blind girl thing.... that's at least the 4th time I've posted that exact same phrase over the last year.  First time I did, I got monkey-hammered with down arrows.  Second time almost as bad.  Then I drew even.  Now it's green arrows across the board.

I have great faith that regular people know the difference between rainwater and urine trickling down their backs if it keeps happening often enough.  Will he get thrown out of office?  Of course not.  Is his presidency effectly over already?  Yep, sure it.  He's got executive orders left in his bag and nothing else.  All of which is reversible, although most things will get done by EO from his presidency forward, for obvious reasons (shitload easier than getting something done the Constitutional way).

Colonel Klink's picture

Agreed, and he's trying to use executive orders to make law.  The use of executive orders needs to be closely and tightly controlled by the Judicial branch of government.

What were you saying about asking for something that's not gonna happen?

NoDebt's picture

Think of all the "leverage" future presidents will have over their friends and rivals alike just to undo all those EOs.  It'll be the equivalent to buying 'Papal Indulgences'.  They won't just all get rolled back lickety split and for nothing in return.  "If you want me to stop hurting you, here's what you gotta give me in return..."

Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

White, black, asian, or hispanic blind 10 year old? Was she a member of the Tea Party?

TBT or not TBT's picture

He could at least offer her a last Purple Drank, for the optics.

rodocostarica's picture

fuck off Marylinn Tavenner. You have no abiity to manage this. It is a disaster.

anefarious1's picture

Assuming ZeroHedge readers earn a good living, as a whole, we are in for a large IRS fine next year thanks to the Obamacare "Shared Responsiblity Payment" AKA TAX. I'm self employed and I calculated my fine to be $1,057 on http://obamacarefee.com

Low information zombies either don't know about it or think it is $95 or $285 for a family. Can Apple still sell as many iPhones after Obama has his way collecting revenue for multnational insurance companies?

kaiserhoff's picture

There was a lengthy discussion about this a few weeks ago.  So far, the only enforcement mechanism is to grab your tax refund.  Plan ahead, and don't have one.  Also, clearly label all payments to IRS as to purpose.  Good idea anyway.  They will get serious about this at some point, but why feed the beast?

tip e. canoe's picture

 Also, clearly label all payments to IRS as to purpose.

please explain...

kaiserhoff's picture

A good reason to avoid electronic transfers, one of many.

If an old fashioned check clearly states the payment is for payroll taxes withheld, that is legal evidence as to where the payment should be credited.  Unlabeled payments may be grabbed for any damn fool thing Barry has in mind this week. 

insanelysane's picture

The IRS can't forcibly collect the fee yet, but they can, and will keep a tab as to how much you owe so when they can forcibly take it, they will, and with penalties added on.