Enrollment Numbers: The Next Exciting Source of Obamacare Scandal

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 30 2013 6:25 PM

Enrollment Numbers: The Next Exciting Source of Obamacare Scandal

Marilyn Tavenner really, really wants you to wait till mid-November.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Mid-November. Mark that date, or that time of the month—use a highlighter and scrawl it over the middle of the calendar, I guess. That's when the administration is supposed to have official numbers on who's enrolled in health care exchanges. We learned this on Tuesday, when poor Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was grilled by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp on who'd enrolled.

Camp: You have no numbers on who’s enrolled? So you have no idea?
Tavenner: We will have those numbers available by mid-November.
Camp: So no one is forwarding even weekly updates?
Tavenner: We will get those numbers in mid-November.

Kathleen Sebelius had a far better dodge today. "I don’t want to turn over any data this is not confirmed and reliable," she said. Easy! Wait until November.

Or wait until the president's speech in Boston, which took place shortly after Sebelius wrapped up. "More people are successfully buying these new plans online than they were a couple of weeks ago," said the president. Pretty quickly, that inspired a sharp statement from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Today, President Obama said that enrollment in ObamaCare is greater this week than it was two weeks ago. Clearly the President has access to enrollment data that his administration continues to hide. President Obama should be honest with the American people and release the enrollment data he based his remarks on. 

Of course there's some public reporting from states with separate exchanges about how many people have been signing up. I've asked about this, to be sure, while remaining impressed at how many aspects of this law can be scandalized.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Scotland Votes to Remain in U.K.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Can Democrats Keep Counting on Republicans to Offend Women as a Campaign Strategy?


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.