At Monday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney tried to gloss over the administration’s backpedaling from their previously stated goal of 7-million enrollees in Obamacare by the end of March, in response to a question from CBS News’ White House correspondent Major Garrett.
Carney told Garrett that the administration’s 7-million estimate was actually a “CBO figure” from earlier in the year, and wasn’t a magic number for the success of Obamacare:
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. The issue, obviously, is there has to be some volume — some estimates have been as low as 2 million — but what that make-up looks like, both demographically and geographically. So all of these issues are important.
So we’re not — we’re not — 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. But the issue is…
Garrett wasn’t convinced, and reminded Carney that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on September 30 that she thought that success “looks like at least 7-million people having signed up by the end of March 2014.” Garrett added that to him it seemed like she was embracing that number, unlike what the White House was now doing.
Carney responded by saying that success to him is many millions being enrolled, and that the forthcoming demographic information is more important than the overall enrollment numbers.
Before the botched rollout of the Obamacare website, the administration had no problem with the “CBO figure” estimating enrollment numbers of 7 million by the end of March. But once the site finally started functioning and it became clear that they would fall far short of that number, the backpedaling began and continues to this day as they try to gloss over the failure of Obamacare.