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WP Fact Checker: 500K Sign-Ups = 1 Pinocchio

From the ‘fact checker’ at the Washington Post:

The White House’s happy tweet about ‘Obamacare’ enrollment

By Glenn Kessler | November 14, 2013

“Thanks to #Obamacare, more than 500,000 Americans have already signed up for health coverage.” — tweet from The White House, Nov. 13, 2013

This tweet from the White House is a great example of trying to make lemonade out of lemons….

The Facts

The number “500,000” may ring a bell because the Associated Press last month broke the news that an internal memo had predicted that about 500,000 people would sign up for health insurance by Oct. 31. As the article noted, “that was portrayed as a slow start.” …

A report that, for some odd reason the rest of the news media studiously ignored.

But on Wednesday, the actual numbers were released. It turned out that only 106,185 had selected a plan by clicking a button on the Web site page, but an undisclosed percentage have not actually paid their first-month premiums.

That is, they have not ‘signed up’ for anything.

As the tweet graphic indicated, the bulk of that 500,000 figure represented people who have been “determined eligible” for coverage through Medicaid or the child’s health program (CHIP).

Medicaid expansion was certainly part of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, but Medicaid enrollments were not part of the original 500,000-person estimate disclosed by the AP…

And certainly most low information people don’t think signing up for Obama-Care means signing up for Medicaid. And this tweet was aimed at the low information crowd on Twitter.

The final part of the tweet notes that nearly 1 million people have “completed application but haven’t selected a plan yet.” Nearly 700,000 of those people are in the federal exchange, suggesting that the balky Web site has been a serious issue. More than 95 percent of the people in the federal exchange who completed an application have not signed up for a plan, the report says.

Translation from the administration/media lackey’s gibberish: HHS is counting anyone who has even begun an application here. That is, people who haven’t even ‘selected a plan’ by putting it in their shopping cart. Which, given the way the website is setup, means just about everyone who went there to window shop.

The Pinocchio Test

As tweets go, the administration earns some credit for breaking out the raw enrollment numbers–even if the actual accounting appears a bit generous…

They ‘deserve credit’ for making people think 500,000 people have signed up for Obama-Care when probably only 50,000 have? But what’s a little white lie when you are trying to hoodwink the low information denizens on Twitter?

But happy talk can only go so far. The first month’s enrollment figures are nothing to crow about.

One Pinocchio

But speaking of the Washington Post’s pathetic excuse for a ‘fact checker,’ here is a video report from ABC News:

Failed ObamaCare Website Cost Taxpayers OVER 600 MILLION Dollars! SO FAR!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwjBdygaY-A

In it, Jonathan Karl reports that yesterday the Government Accounting Office’s IT Director was asked how much the Obama-Care website had cost ‘so far.’ His response: “Through the end of September it was north of $600 million spent.”

But back on October 24, Mr. Kessler at the Washington Post mocked anyone who believe such nonsense.

From the Washington Post:

How much did HealthCare.gov cost?

By Glenn Kessler | October 24, 2013

How much did the troubled HealthCare.gov actually cost? It may be much less than you’ve heard.

Given the vagaries of the federal contracting system, this is not an easy question to answer. But that has not stopped some people from speculating that the total is $500 million or more. That may be a reasonable figure, but the more we looked into this, the more it seemed a bit high…

So here’s where we stand.

A conservative figure would be $70 million. A more modest figure would be $125 million to $150 million. Or one could embrace the entire project, as outlined by GAO, and declare that it is at least $350 million…

Update, Oct. 30: In testimony on Capitol Hill, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, in response to a direct question: “Congresswoman, we have spent about $118 million on the website itself, and about $56 million has been expended on other IT to support the web.”

That adds up to $174 million.

We give that ‘fact check’ four ‘Horse Laughs.’

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, November 14th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

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