On the first day of open enrollment in Obamacare, only six people were able to successfully enroll for health insurance on the embattled Healthcare.gov website, as revealed by the incomparable Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News yesterday. In light of this embarrassment, it makes perfect sense why the Obama administration stonewalled the press when they asked for numbers of enrollees.
One particularly hysterical example comes from an interview between Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Fox News’ Chris Wallace, as reported at the Examiner last month. At the time, yours truly noted that Wallace asked Lew six times how many people enrolled so far, and Lew dodged the question with skills that would make White House press secretary Jay Carney proud, as he also dodged the question, as reported at the Washington Free Beacon.
RealClearPolitics posted the video and transcript of the exchange with Jack Lew, which reads in part [emphasis added]:
CHRIS WALLACE: I want to ask you about ObamaCare. You brought it up, that’s what — what a lot of this is about. The public exchanges in ObamaCare opened this week. And I think it’s fair to say that the government Web site was a mess. In fact — and you can look at it right here — the page to sign up to enroll for ObamaCare has been taken down for repairs during off-peak hours this weekend.
A question, sir. You have had three years to prepare for this week.
If I already had doubts — somebody already had doubts about the government’s ability to oversee a sixth of the economy, shouldn’t this just add to my doubts?
JACK LEW, SECRETARY OF TREASURY: You know, Chris, the — I actually think that is not what’s happened this week. What happened this week is we saw seven million people rush to go onto the Web page to find out what are their choices in this new marketplace to buy affordable health care.
WALLACE: How many actually signed up, sir?
LEW: You know, they have six months to sign up. This is a big decision. We never expected —
WALLACE: How many signed up?
LEW: — I — I don’t have the exact number. But the question isn’t —
WALLACE: Do you have any number —
LEW: The question —
WALLACE: — because the government has refused to —
LEW: — it’s the wrong question.
WALLACE: — tell us how many.
LEW: It’s the wrong question.
WALLACE: No, it isn’t.
WALLACE: In the end, looking —
LEW: The right question –
WALLACE: — I can look and I may have no interest and, in fact —
WALLACE: — I’m not going to need ObamaCare —
LEW: We know —
WALLACE: — the question is, how many —
LEW: Chris, we –
WALLACE: — people have —
LEW: — we know —
WALLACE: — actually signed up?
LEW: We know that people take time to make important decisions like this. They go on. They compare their options. The fact that so many millions of people rushed to get information is a very good sign.
And then to your question about the Web site, I don’t know about you, but, um, you know, I sign on and I get updates on my software and I often get corrections that I have to re, uh, re-update my — my software from major companies.
It is not unique that when you have a very large new software program come out, that people work to clean it up. I usually wait until it’s .3 or .4 before I sign up.
So many millions of people rushed to get in, because that shows how much interest there is in — in getting health care.
WALLACE: I’m going to ask one last time, because, forgive me, sir, you haven’t answered it.
Do you not know how many people have signed up?
Which should seem to indicate another major software glitch?
Or is it that the number is embarrassingly small?
LEW: Chris, I — our metric for this week was could people get online, get the information they need…
WALLACE: The answer is they couldn’t —
LEW: — to make an enforce — and informed decision. They have been getting that information. We are confident that they’re going to make the decision as we expected. They have six months to make the decision.
WALLACE: So you don’t — the — do they — do you not know or is it that the number is small?
LEW: Well, it’s obviously not my primary area of responsibility, so my knowing or not knowing is not — is not going to be indicative…
WALLACE: But then nobody —
WALLACE: — in the government —
LEW: — the — the important issue — the important issue here is that millions of Americans want to get affordable health care. They came online. They’re getting the information.
And do you know what they’re learning?
They’re learning they can get affordable health care, they can save money, they can avoid having a situation where they have pre-existing conditions but no health care or they have children who have no health care.
This is a very important development.
WALLACE: They just can’t sign up for it at this point?
LEW: Well, I think they are going to be signing up.