Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.

Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Jon Greenberg
By Jon Greenberg November 3, 2013

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

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.

Our Sources

CBS News, Face the Nation, Nov. 3, 2013

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 10/2 HealthCare.gov Meeting Notes: "6 enrollments have occurred so far", Oct. 31, 2013

Center for Consumer Information and Insurance, CCIO-wide War Room notes 10.2.2013 AM, Oct. 31, 2013

Center for Consumer Information and Insurance, CCIO-wide War Room notes 10.2.2013 PM, Oct. 31, 2013

Center for Consumer Information and Insurance, CCIO-wide War Room notes 10.2.2013 AM, Oct. 31, 2013

CBS News, Obamacare enrollments got off to very slow start, documents show, Oct. 31, 2013

Reuters, Enrollment in Obamacare very small in first days: documents, Oct. 31, 2013

Bloomberg, Obamacare Documents Show 248 Enrollments in First 2 Days, Nov. 1, 2013

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Jon Greenberg

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

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up