WASHINGTON - Obamacare's six month enrollment period ended Monday, with the administration claiming that more than 6 million people signed up. But there are lots of reasons why its claims of success should be taken with a large grain of salt.
Remember, this is the administration who promised us that if you like the health insurance plan you have, you can keep it. No one can take it away from you. That turned out to be one of President Obama's biggest whoppers when five million Americans had their policies cancelled because they didn't meet Obamacare's rigid mandates.
Additional claims being made about the health care law remind me of a long ago TV ad where a shady salesman who, when his customers questioned his promises, would reply, "Well, not exactly."
There are lots of "not exactlys" in this administration's dubious claims about where Obamacare stands right now after its first six month sign up period.
Let's start with the White House's questionable spiel that it has reached its goal of six million Americans who signed up for plans in the health insurance exchanges since Oct. 1.
The Washington Post's Jason Millman seriously doubted this claim Tuesday in a revealing Q&A article: "Six million exchange sign-ups -- so, the administration hit its goal?"
His answer: "Not exactly. For starters the administration says it never set a specific goal, though it did previously adopt the Congressional Budget Office's earlier estimate that 7 million would enroll in exchanges by the deadline. CBO later revised the estimate down to 6 million after technical problems hindered the first two months of enrollment." But no one really knows.
That's why there was growing skepticism about the 6 million sign up claim on Capitol Hill. "They are cooking the books on this," says Sen. John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming.
The truth is, despite the administration's claims, there's no official data about who have signed up thus far.
We don't know how many of these are people who had insurance before and are switching to subsidized policies under Obamacare. Neither do we know how many signed up and paid for their policies.
Obama is suggesting that, with the latest sign ups, the number of uninsured is dropping accordingly. "I'd say that we're on our way to making sure that no American ever has to go without health insurance."
Well, not exactly. There's a general estimate of how many have newly enrolled in Medicaid for lower income people, and of young adults who, under Obamacare, are now on their parents' medical care plans.
However, "we don't know how many of those signing up...were previously uninsured," Millman writes.