Politico on Obamacare: Maybe It's Not a Train Wreck, Just a Really, Really Slow Train That Sometimes Stops

From the Not a Parody Department: Politico tweeted out on Wednesday night: “The #Obamacare rollout is changing before our very eyes.”

Under the headline "Obamacare finally clears the tower," reporter David Nather promised “The Obamacare rollout is changing in front of our eyes — turning from a running joke into one big shoulder shrug. And that’s good news for the White House, because at this point, even basic competence is good news.” The spin got even lamer:

Nather new enrollment numbers put out by Team Obama suggest “maybe Obamacare isn’t going to be a train wreck after all. Maybe it’ll be more like one of those Metro trains that runs kind of slowly, and sometimes stops in the middle of the tracks for no apparent reason, but eventually gets you where you need to go.”

Do you remember that slogan in 2008? “Obama: Hope and Change that runs kind of slowly and sometimes stops for no apparent reason.”

Politico was revising its expectations and defining success down:

No, the Obama administration is not on track to hit its original enrollment goal: 7 million people in the health insurance exchanges in the first year, based on the Congressional Budget Office projections of how many they’d get.

But based on the new numbers, 6 million isn’t out of the question, independent analysts say. That’s what CBO estimated in its newest projections, released last week, after it factored in all the website problems during the troubled launch.

But Nather admitted the picture is incomplete:


The administration’s numbers still count everyone who has “selected” a plan – meaning they might have paid their first premium, or they might not. And officially, they’re only enrolled if they’ve paid up.

There aren’t any solid numbers yet on how many of these Obamacare customers are actually enrolled, and administration official say they don’t have that data yet. But from what insurance company executives have said publicly, it appears that most have paid for their coverage – but not all have.

That means the real Obamacare enrollment numbers are probably a bit lower than what the administration reported Wednesday. Not low enough to be disastrous, but low enough that Obamacare watchers should still be skeptical of the official numbers.

But Politico used those official numbers as the basis for a article selling Obamacare optimism.

HT: Blitzgrambo

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis