This Jim Acosta tweet piqued my interest so I’m tossing it out there. Let the feverish baseless speculation begin!
HHS: Sebelius to Atlanta tomorrow and "discuss an important announcement related to the Affordable Care Act"
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 7, 2013
On the one hand, it’s probably nothing. E.g., “we’re pleased to announce that the share of total users able to enroll on the site has risen from two percent to three.” On the other hand, Friday is the traditional day for dumping bad news. If you’re going to dump, though, you typically do it quietly, via a statement from the White House press shop. You don’t send the secretary of HHS out there to declare with cameras rolling that the meltdown has now reached a point where she and O have no choice but to delay the individual mandate. It’s got to be good-ish news, at least in the sense that Sebelius won’t feel completely humiliated announcing it.
Obvious possibility: She’s going to reveal the enrollment data for October a bit earlier than expected. That was supposed to come next week, I believe, but Dave Camp issued a subpoena two days ago demanding that it be released by Friday. Sebelius admitted yesterday that the numbers will be “quite low,” which means this is decidedly not “good-ish” for the White House. But it’s not as bad as you might think: One thing Sebelius could do to pad the numbers is refuse to distinguish between new Medicaid enrollees and ObamaCare enrollees. There have been lots and lots of the former, not so many of the latter. Another thing she could do for damage control is refuse to give any data, especially state by state data, on how many “young healthies” have signed up versus how many sick people. The success of ObamaCare depends upon the former; even if the site gets fixed and there’s a huge swell of enrollments in December, that won’t help the insurance industry if most of those enrollees have preexisting conditions. The devil’s in the details on the data. Which is why Sebelius is unlikely to get too specific.
Exit prediction: She’s announcing that she’s running for president in 2016. Now more than evah!
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