A White House adviser backpedaled Tuesday on the target for ObamaCare enrollment, saying the widely cited goal of enrolling 7 million people by the end of March was "never our target number" -- though Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius repeatedly has cited the figure.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated earlier this year that 7 million people would likely sign up for health insurance under the new law by the end of open enrollment, and Sebelius has stated the administration’s goal was 7 million enrollees more than once.
However, White House health care adviser Phil Schiliro told MSNBC Tuesday the 7 million estimate was mischaracterized in the media as being the administration’s goal.
“That was never our target number,” Schiliro said. “That was a target that was put out by the Congressional Budget Office and has become the accepted number.”
However, Sebelius told a group of reporters in June the 7 million number was a “realistic target” for sign-ups, and she reiterated that goal in a September interview with NBC News.
"I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014," Sebelius said.
When asked about Sebelius’ statements, Schiliro said the secretary was only repeating the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate, not insinuating the number was the administration’s own goal.
So far more than 2.1 million people have enrolled through the federal- and state-run marketplaces, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Open enrollment for health insurance under ObamaCare ends on March 31, 2014, and individuals who are uninsured by that point must pay a fine.