“They are masters at moving the goalposts, and they have done that a lot. They’ll move the goalposts again,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a conservative economist and former Congressional Budget Office director who now leads the American Action Forum.
Most recently, the White House has been looking to distance itself from the expectation that it would enroll about 7 million people in the first year of Obamacare coverage. The estimate came from the CBO, and the administration described it in pre-launch memos as a “target” for 2014. “I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014,” Sebelius said in September.
But HHS’ ability to hit that mark is in question because of the rocky HealthCare.gov rollout, and the administration now says 7 million wasn’t its goal, or even its estimate.
“That was CBO’s projection, not ours. I’m not aware that we put a numerical projection on what we hope to see by March 31st,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week.