Lew: Our metric for last week wasn’t how many people could successfully sign up for ObamaCare, or something
posted at 12:41 pm on October 7, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
A facepalm-worthy segment of highly-rehearsed Obama-administration blather that quickly went awry and turned into some hyper-political squirming from Fox News Sunday; Chris Wallace grilled Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew on the administration’s and the president’s maladroit attempt to nudge markets into a state of unease over the trajectory of the debt-ceiling fight, but the subject eventually turned to the great whiff that was the grand opening of ObamaCare last week, via RCP:
JACK LEW, SECRETARY OF TREASURY: You know, Chris, the — I actually think that is not what’s happened this week. What happened this week is we saw seven million people rush to go onto the Web page to find out what are their choices in this new marketplace to buy affordable health care. … How many signed up?
LEW: — I — I don’t have the exact number. But the question isn’t —
WALLACE: Do you not know how many people have signed up, which should seem to indicate another major software glitch? Or is it that the number is embarrassingly small?
LEW: Chris, I — our metric for this week was could people get online, get the information they need… They have been getting that information. We are confident that they’re going to make the decision as we expected. They have six months to make the decision. … The important issue here is that millions of Americans want to get affordable health care. They came online. They’re getting the information. …
WALLACE: They just can’t sign up for it at this point?
LEW: Well, I think they are going to be signing up.
LEW: They have six months to sign up.
WALLACE: But technically, they can’t.
The encouragingly “high volume of traffic” that has ostensibly been gumming up their servers has been the administration’s talking point of choice over the past week, but it was almost immediately apparent that the glitches people have been encountering in attempting to sign up are a far cry from mere traffic problems and have a lot more to do with some hugely flawed and obviously hasty programming decisions. Who knows how long the administration will take to get their act together and fully implement the smooth and easy signup process of their fanciful promises, but once again: High interest in ObamaCare is not necessarily a good thing if the majority of the “millions of Americans” that “want to get to affordable health care” checking out the system so far are the ones most likely to have a high interest, i.e., older and sicker people with many and expensive health care needs. Without enough counterbalancing interest from young, healthy, and relatively inexpensive participants, ObamaCare could get quickly bogged down in the dreaded death spiral of costly enrollees when it goes into effect in January.