Just six enrollments occurred on HealthCare.gov’s first day according to meeting notes
The notes, released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, indicate that six enrollments were completed in the morning following the website’s Tuesday launch. The documents state that approximately 100 had occurred by the afternoon, and that 248 enrollments nationwide had taken place by the end of Wednesday.
The early enrollment figures, released in response to a request from the House Oversight Committee, seem a stark contrast to the 4.7 million unique visits the government noted in the first 24 hours of launching the new healthcare insurance site, and could indicate the extent to which technical issues impeded completed applications.
Rep. Issa, who issued subpoenas to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for HealthCare.gov documents, told Fox that the figures were not official. Meanwhile, HHS spokesperson Joanne Peters responded that the documents “appear to be notes.”
“As the Secretary said before Congress, we are focused on providing reliable and accurate information and we do not have that at this time due to the issues with 834 forms,” Peters said.
“We have always anticipated that the pace of enrollment will increase throughout the enrollment period,” she continued.
The Obama administration has not released official enrollment figures thus far, as it continues to deal with the blowback from the site’s problematic launch.
The online health care exchange must average 39,000 enrollees per day to meet the stated goal of seven million by March 1, CBS reported. A spokesman also told CBS that the numbers listed in the meeting notes may not include additional enrollments performed by paper applications.
While the documents cannot be interpreted as official figures, they do nonetheless provide a wider glimpse into the technical hurdles that were faced by the website.
The notes from the meetings indicate that direct enrollment through the website was not initially working for any issuer, and that Experian credit reports were creating “confusion with credit check information.” The "war room" meetings, convened within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, began after the website failed on Oct. 1.
The roll-out of the healthcare website has become a magnet for partisan political wrangling, with Republicans on Capitol Hill pressing for details in a bid to undermine the administration’s figures on consumer demand for the healthcare exchange site.
Low enrollment figures also likely indicate the extent to which the site’s technical deficiencies prevented successful applications upon launch.
On Wednesday, Sebelius apologized for the “miserably frustrating” issues involving HealthCare.gov during a grueling 3 ½-hour congressional hearing.
"Clearly, I was wrong. We were wrong," said Sebelius. "We knew that in any big, new, complicated system there would be problems. No one ever imagined the volume of issues and problems that we have had and we must fix it."