HHS official: We have no idea how many people have paid their first month's ObamaCare premium

Of course they don’t, silly. How would they? They haven’t built that part of the site yet.

As of a week ago, Bob Laszewski’s best guess based on his chats with friends in the industry was 50 percent. The feds probably have some inkling of the actual number, not from Healthcare.gov but from trying to reconcile their data on O-Care enrollees with the data various insurers have. The whole point of building the website was to avert the need for that; someone would sign up on Healthcare.gov, they’d make payment through the site, the info and money would be automatically forwarded to the insurer, and the conveyor belt would keep moving. As it is, with glitchy files still being transmitted on the back end, both sides have to compare notes periodically via a laborious reconciliation process to make sure they have the same information. Checking payments is just one facet of that, but a long and important one — as noted in the clip, until the feds know that you’ve ponied up for your premiums, they can’t get things moving for you on subsidies.

Which reminds me: If you read only one story today about enrollees struggling with premiums, skip the stuff about the website and check out what a young Obama fan told TPM about having to pay 300 bucks a month for his new coverage. I’m not sure what the takeaway is — that coverage under the Affordable Care Act ain’t so affordable, that young adults need to make better life choices so that they can afford the essentials, or that New York City is basically unlivable for the middle class. Other TPM readers aren’t sure either. I’m going to go with all three.