November 1st, 2013, DALLAS – According to “war room notes” obtained by CBS, only six Americans enrolled for health insurance after the Healthcare.gov’s October 1st launch.
These notes, provided to the House Oversight Committee, document meetings between Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services bureaucrats and contractors hired for the site’s design and launch. The details reveal steady documentation of early issues. From the October 2nd “AM” meeting, officials were aware that, “direct enrollment (signing up directly on an insurer’s website) is not working for any issuers,” and “the VA system not connecting, Experian (credit reporting agency) is creating confusion with credit check information.”By the afternoon, direct enrollment was still not working. “Consumer access issues are occurring; some estimates show 40,000 people in the waiting room.” At the time of that report approximately 100 enrollments had been completed. By end of business, 248 were enrolled.
The documents also counter claims made by officials that daily performance and enrollment data is unavailable. The head of CMS, Marilyn Tavenner, refused to disclose figures this week to House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp. “Chairman Camp, we will have those numbers available in mid-November,” she said.
According to internal notes, these details are available daily. “Statistics coming in,” says the October 2nd morning meeting notes. “QSSI has a daily dashboard created every night.” QSSI is a contracting agency hired to design the Affordable Care Act exchange’s data hub. The company has since been subpoenaed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
Skeptics doubted government claims that data was unavailable. “This is the most significant economic legislation of Obama’s presidency,” said Joe Reichsfeld, an Information Technology professional in Phoenix, Arizona. “This information can be “pulled” in real-time. Claiming these numbers aren’t available until mid-November is nonsense. They are hiding something, as per usual.”
HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters told NBC, “These appear to be notes, they do not include official enrollment statistics. As the secretary said before Congress, we are focused on providing reliable and accurate information and we do not have that at this time … We have always anticipated that the pace of enrollment will increase throughout the enrollment period.”
According to a spokesman, the paper applications surely flooding into the enrollment center are not included. The Health and Human Services refused to confirm or discuss enrollment figures because like the enrollment availability for Healthcare.gov, they are unavailable at this time.
As of November 1st, the site is still plagued with issues. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized to Americans Wednesday for the dysfunctional site that botched the roll out. “The website has “never crashed. “It is functional, but at a very slow speed and very low reliability, and has continued to function,” she said.
For the exchange to reach its self-sustaining goal of 1 million participants by March 1st, 39,000 daily enrollees were required.