California: So, Obamacare exchange traffic wasn't actually 5 million; it was 700K

The revisions downward begin. Yesterday, Obamacare exchanges were melting down because of the intense interest in signing up. All the citizens were flooding the gates for all the insurance! Why, in California there were 5 million visitors. No technologist could prepare for such an onslaught.

Here’s what really happened:

California’s health insurance exchange vastly overstated the number of online hits it received Tuesday during the rollout of Obamacare.

State officials said the Covered California website got 645,000 hits during the first day of enrollment, far fewer than the 5 million it reported Tuesday.

The state exchange had cited the 5 million figure as a sign of strong consumer interest and a major reason people had so much difficulty using its $313-million online enrollment system.

Dana Howard, a spokesman for Covered California, said the error was the result of internal miscommunication.

“Someone misspoke and thought it was indeed 5 million hits. That was incorrect,” he said.

One of the more unfortunate costs of putting even more health care in the hands of the government is that we will now never stop talking about health care. The American people were sorely mistaken if they thought 2009’s passage of this monstrosity would be the end of the discussion, and not just because Republicans (oh, and a majority of the country) have a problem with the bill, as conceived. No, even if there were unanimity on the original bill, we were always going to end up incessantly talking about health care. The more health care decisions are made by the government, the more power we give them to split limited resources between citizens, the more each little faction of Americans with this condition or that condition is going to have to lobby for care. Every single treatment will have a constituency, an online petition, a lobbyist, and will vie with other Americans to scoop up as big a piece as they can from a pie that will not grow to serve the population it’s serving and distribute resources efficiently, as in a free market, but stay the same size and distribute them Washington-style.

California’s lie about its first official day of failure in administrating Obamacare is just a preview of what (even more) politicized health care looks like. Some states, to their credit, did release statistics from opening day that they’ve not yet had to retract. The federal health exchange reportedly had 2.8 million visitors, but wouldn’t release numbers for enrollment:

Some state run exchanges have released data on the number of people who have enrolled. Twenty-four people had enrolled in the Connecticut exchange by noon Tuesday, while the one in Kentucky had processed nearly 1,000, according to USA Today.

“Certainly states can report what they want, these are state-based exchanges and some have reported early enrollment numbers. We have just decided not to release that yet,” Tavenner said.

Look forward to many years of stalled FOIAs to find out anything about the massive amounts of health care data, performance stats, and patient care results Obamacare collects, and how they’re using them. Look forward to strategic release of statistics that serve each administration’s narrative and donors. Look forward to talking about this forever and never getting a straight story.

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David Strom 9:21 PM on March 24, 2023