The FOIA lawsuit was filed after HHS failed to respond to an October 7, 2013, Judicial Watch FOIA request seeking the following information:
Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to the number of individuals that purchased health insurance through Healthcare.gov between October 1, 2013, and October 4, 2013.
The Affordable Health Care Act website, which officially launched on the Tuesday, October 1, immediately encountered substantial problems typical of those reported by the Chicago Tribune: “Consumers seeking more information on their new options under the Affordable Care Act were met with long delays, error messages and a largely non-working federal insurance exchange and call center Tuesday morning.” Pressed for an explanation in a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon, Marilyn Tavenner, head of the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, refused to disclose the number of people who had purchased insurance through the site saying, “We have just decided not to release that yet.”
The full extent of the failure, however, is reflected in the details provided by the Judicial Watch FOIA document revelations. They include:
*As of October 31, 2013, there were 1,319,425 accounts created nationwide – but only 30,512 actual enrollments in Obamacare.
*On October 1, 2013, at the end of the first day (4:30), the Senior Advisor at Center forConsumer Information and Insurance Oversight, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Brigid M. Russell, sent out an email to her staff with a subject line celebrating “2 enrollments!” The body copy of the email read: “We have our second official FFM enrollment! The first two Form 834s sent out are to: 1) CareSource in Ohio, 2) BCBS of North Carolina.
*Official figures contained in the HHS report provide conflicting figures as to the number of enrollments. FFM [Federally Facilitated Marketplace] statistics show 23,259 cumulative to-date applications submitted as of 10/2/13 and 286 completed plan selections. Earlier numbers show 356 enrollments created as of 7pm on 10/2/13 that were completed with Form 834s sent.
*An October 2, 2013, email from HHS Special Assistant Marianne Bowen indicated serious problems with congressional enrollments: “The Congressional issue (68 attempts for Direct enrollment) was an issue stemming from incomplete applications being sent through (started, not finished, sent anyway) and the way the issuers are assigning unique numbers. Turns out there were only 4 complete Direct Enrollment applications that went through, the other 64 were not complete.” [The U.S. Congress has approximately 24,000 professional staffers.]
*On October 2, 2013, the Obamacare website had 70 million page views but only 5 million were unique visitors, and 48% of registrations failed. The large number of page views may have been the result of visitors repeatedly hitting the “refresh” button due to long waiting times.” - Judicial Watch Obtains 106-Page HHS Document Revealing Scope of Obamacare Rollout Disaster, Judicial Watch, 05/19/2014
Link to entire press release appears below: