The Conversation

Just 35 Have Enrolled in Mississippi and 14 in North Dakota

The White House continues to refuse to release enrollment figures for the federal exchange. The official excuse, offered by Jay Carney again today, is that the information will be released on a regular schedule starting in mid-November, just like the government does for other programs.

In case anyone thought this was anything other than a politically motivated delaying tactic, we learned yesterday that the Obama administration contacted Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota to ask them not to release any enrollment figures. That's according to James Nichol of BC/BS who told a crowd of North Dakotans that his company had been contacted to keep the figures quiet.

So not only is the White House refusing to give out the numbers itself, they are actively working to prevent others from doing so. And if they are calling insurers in North Dakota you can bet they are calling them elsewhere.

Unfortunately for the Obama administration, some of the numbers are leaking anyway. The same story goes on to say "a spokeswoman from Blue Cross Blue Shield says about 14 North Dakotans have signed up for coverage since the federal exchange went live Oct. 1. That brings total statewide enrollment to 20 – less than one a day."

Meanwhile the news is not much better in Mississippi. The Clarion Ledger reports "Three weeks after the federal health exchange launched, 35 people have enrolled for insurance coverage on Mississippi’s online marketplace, Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said."

Two states with a total of 49 enrolled in three weeks. It's not hard to see why the administration is working so hard to keep these numbers quiet.

Ezra Klein interviewed Robert Laszewski today. Speaking of the tiny number of sign ups Laszewski told him "I think the Obama administration doesn’t want to cross the red line to shut the system down, but I think this is effectively a shutdown in which they don’t say they’ve shut it down but it basically is shut down."

That would certainly help explain the numbers in Mississippi and North Dakota.


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