- President took a major victory lap and took political shots at Republicans, but ignored shortcomings in his administration’s official numbers
- Press secretary Jay Carney will only say ‘we’re aggregating a lot of data’ when asked how many enrollees have paid for coverage
- Carney dodged questions about damning study that showed very few Obamacare customers were uninsured before the law took effect
- Percentages from a hush-hush RAND Corporation study suggest barely 858,000 previously uninsured Americans have enrolled and paid premiums
- HHS Secretary Sebelius met a televised challenge Monday about ‘unpopular’ Obamacare with lengthy awkward silence
A triumphant President Barack Obama declared Tuesday his signature medical insurance overhaul a success, saying it has made America’s health care system ‘a lot better’ in a Rose Garden press conference. But buried in the 7.1 million enrollments he announced in a heavily staged appearance is a more unsettling reality. Numbers from a RAND Corporation study that has been kept under wraps suggest that barely 858,000 previously uninsured Americans – nowhere near 7.1 million – have paid for new policies and joined the ranks of the insured by Monday night. Barack Obama spoke about Affordable Care Act enrollment totals at the White House but took no questions, as Vice President Joe Biden stood by wordlessly and applauded an ebullient Jay Carney, fresh from greeting his hometown world-champion Boston Red Sox, bragged about the administration’s signup totals — but hid the ball on thorny questions that could unravel the celebration
Others were already insured, including millions who lost coverage when their existing policies were suddenly cancelled because they didn’t meet Obamacare’s strict minimum requirements. Still, he claimed that ‘millions of people who have health insurance would not have it’ without his insurance law.’ ’The goal we’ve set for ourselves – that no American should go without the health care they need … is achievable,’ Obama declared. The president took no questions from reporters, but celebrated the end of a rocky six-month open-enrollment period by taking pot shots at Republicans who have opposed the law from the beginning as a government-run seizure of one-seventh of the U.S. economy. ’The debate over repealing this law is over,’ he insisted. ‘The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. ’We could not have done it without them, and they should be proud of what they’ve done,’ Obama boasted, in a clear nod to November’s contentious elections in which Republicans are expected to make large gains on an anti-Obamacare platform because of the law’s general lack of popularity.
‘In the end,’ he warned the GOP, ‘history is not kind to those who would deny Americans their basic economic security. … That’s what the Affordable Care Act represents.’ ‘“The bottom line is this,’ said Obama: ‘The share of Americans with insurance is up, and the growth in the cost of insurance is down. There’s no good reason to go back.’ Republicans will differ with that assessment as Election Day nears. They need to gain a net total of six Senate seats in order to reclaim the majority and control both houses of Congress, a goal that appears reachable since two-thirds of the seats being contested are held by Democratic incumbents. No national political analyst has predicted a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives. White House press secretary Jay Carney stopped short of saying ‘I told you so,’ but chided a sparse press corps in the briefing room at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for ever doubting that the Obamacare system would enroll more than 7 million Americans.