Saturday, December 20th, 2014
Mostly True
Crawford
"On day one, six people were able to sign up" for health insurance through the federal marketplace.

Jan Crawford on Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 in comments on CBS' "Face the Nation"

CBS' Jan Crawford says 6 people signed up on Obamacare's first day

On CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Nov. 3, legal correspondent Jan Crawford said, "On day one, six people were able to sign up" for health insurance through the federal marketplace.

The failed launch of the Obamacare website healthcare.gov continued to draw plenty of attention Nov. 3, 2013, on the Sunday morning talk shows. Jan Crawford, CBS legal correspondent, said the website’s collapse stood out even more in light of the hype that led up to the opening day.

"With great fanfare they pointed to that date," Crawford said on Face the Nation. "They had health care clinics across the country signing people up for appointments that day to get people in for this promise of affordable health care. On day one, six people were able to sign up."

We wondered, was it true that just six people were able to successfully enroll in plans offered through the federal insurance marketplace created as part of the new health care law? That’s what we’ll look into.

For the most part, Crawford got it right. The figure of six people comes from documents released by the House committee investigating the failed rollout of Obamacare. The documents are copies of notes taken by staff at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency in charge of the website project.

At the top of the notes are the words "War room." They were written two and three days after the site opened for business on Tuesday, Oct. 1. An entry from a meeting on Wednesday morning said "six enrollments have occurred so far."

By the end of the second day, the notes reported 248 people had signed up and about 40,000 applications were pending.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Health and Human Services Department told reporters that these were not official numbers and that people could also enroll through other means, including filling out paper applications. Some states are also operating their own insurance marketplaces.

Joanne Peters, Health and Human Services spokeswoman, told Bloomberg that by the last week of October, about 700,000 people had submitted applications, with about half coming through the federal marketplace and half coming through the states. There were ongoing issues with sending enrollment information to insurance companies, Peters said. Official numbers might be released by mid November.

Our ruling

Crawford said that only six people had been able to sign up on the first day of open enrollment for the federal health insurance marketplace. That fits with the internal notes released by the House committee. But those were initial numbers and there is some possibility that other people could have enrolled without using the website. Official numbers are not available.

With that caveat, we rate the claim Mostly True.