Rich Galen

Since the grand opening of - the federal home of Obamacare - on October 1, 2013, the federal government has been able to sign up only 26,794 people.

26,794 people is something short of what the Administration of Barack Obama had hoped for, had sneered at Republicans for doubting, and had assured the American public it was on target to produce.

Put another way, after spending over three years and, according to the Washington Post, between $170 and $300 million (just for the website), the geniuses at the Department of Health and Human Services have been able to sign up the equivalent of the entire population of … Carbondale, Illinois (Pop. 26,241)

If you're looking for something to compare all this with, gets about 4.3 million unique visitors - per day; almost 129 million per month.

According to NBC News, HHS has had a "goal of 7 million newly signed up by the end of March" 2014.

I think I'm doing this correctly: 7 million - 26,794 = 6,973,296.

There are 137 days from today until March 31, 2014. Leaving out Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years; plus Martin Luther King and Presidents' Days that leaves 132 days (Let's assume the website will, like Amazon or eBay but not Chick-fil-A, function on Sundays).

Starting tomorrow, the website has to average 52,828 Americans signing up each and every day.

Given that only 623 have enrolled on the website in the first 43 days, there is - as they say in those "Think Positive" lectures - plenty of opportunity for growth.

That 26,794 number represents the number of people who have gone through the federal site. An additional 79,000 signed up using state-run websites, so I have somewhat overstated the "opportunity for growth."

In Washington State, though, some 8,000 enrollees are getting some bad news: The amount of the premiums that the state system said they would have to pay was incorrect to the low side. Why? Because the state system was sending the IRS "hub" monthly income figures; while the IRS "hub" was calculating the amount of subsidies based on annual income figures.

Sort of like that time? In 1998? That NASA had two different groups working on a mission - Lockheed Martin and Jet Propulsion Labs - and the Lockheed team used English units of measurement while the JPL team used metric calculations to send guidance signals to the spacecraft?

Result? The Mars Climate Orbiter missed the whole planet.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at