Early Thursday morning, swallowing an Obama administration fallback talking point hook, line, and sinker, Juliet Williams and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, described the horrible problems users have had during the past two days in even accessing the Obamacare exchanges, including "overloaded websites and jammed phone lines," as proof of "strong demand for the private insurance plans," and of "exceptionally high interest in the new system."
Really, guys? That doesn't reconcile with other information gleaned from other sources about low enrollments and unimpressive site visit totals. I'll note just a few of them after the jump.
Jennifer Haberkorn at the ridiculously Obama-friendly Politico tweeted Tuesday evening: "Have spoken with several groups in Texas and so far haven't found anyone who has actually enrolled anyone."
The UK Daily Mail, doing the job AP apparently won't do, reported the following yesterday:
California's program registered an estimated 0.58 per cent of website visitors in its first day.
A Connecticut congressman boasted that his state took 167 applications for Obamacare services on day one, a rate of 0.59 per cent.
Obama administration won't say how many Americans signed up on the central website that covered insurance exchanges for 36 states.
Kentucky's 5.3 per cent application rate seems to be the nation's highest. (That might mean one out of a total of 19. -- Ed.)
Other states wouldn't provide statistics, or tracked only the creation of new online accounts, not numbers of completed applications.
A KUSI News video carried at Weasel Zippers reports that California's exchange "has not sold even one insurance policy," and that "only about 500,000 people visited the Covered California web site on its first day of operation, not the 5 million originally reported by website officials" (A Hot Air post by Mary Katharine Ham says that the first-day number is really 645,000). The report also notes 30-minute hold times for telephone help.
In an item linked at Hot Air Headlines, the New York Times reports that at "the (New York) exchange’s Web site, but that 12,000 had filled out forms or browsed through their options."
A Tuesday evening report by Williams and Alonso-Zaldivar themselves quoted one user as saying that "It was worse today than it was yesterday" at the Iowa exchange.
In the Bayou State, "Louisiana’s leading health insurance company reports that not one person has yet successfully enrolled in a new health care plan offered through the Affordable Care Act."
At Reason ("Are Obamacare’s Federal Exchanges Practically Empty?"; link is in the original): The head of a “navigator” program intended to assist people with enrolling in Wisconsin’s federal exchange, for example, told The New York Times today that to his knowledge, not one of the people his organization tried to sign up made it through the system.
Anecdotal evidence I've heard gives me the impression that even died-in-the-wool Obama fans are shaking their heads, not only at the processing problems, but at the results obtained. They're seeing the costs and saying, "I'm going without."
Obviously, it's early. But for two AP reporters to try to turn what could conceivably be spun as "high interest" into "strong demand" for the exchanges' plans themselves is an indefensible, unsupported and dishonest leap.
Sadly, the one thing the AP pair's report isn't is surprising. Alonso-Zaldivar has been a frequent defender of Obamacare since its passage. Why would he change now?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.