By Kathryn Watson | Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA — How many Virginians have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act?
It’s been more than two weeks since the website for the insurance marketplace — or exchange — went live, so Watchdog.org called the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services for answers.
It’s the agency under Health and Human Services handling much of the Affordable Care Act, and Lorraine Ryan is a spokeswoman overseeing a handful of states in the Mid-Atlantic region.
“I just got back from furlough, so I’m still digging out,” Ryan said. “… But I don’t think we have that information available yet. We don’t have it nationally, and I don’t believe we have it statewide. I think the only states that may have information are states that are running their own exchanges.”
Virginia is one of the 27 states that decided against a state-run exchange, letting the federal government lead the way.
Ryan said she’ll get back to Watchdog.org when she has numbers.
“It’s a natural question to ask,” Ryan said.
Numbers on Obamacare enrollment have been scarce — partly because of the slew of technical problems with healthcare.gov.
Robert Gibbs, former press secretary to President Obama, said in a recent interview with MSNBC the first two weeks of open enrollment were “bungled badly” and “excruciatingly embarrassing for the White House and for the Department of Health and Human Services.”
Industry analyst Bob Laszewski surveyed health plans last week, reporting that no more than 5,000 individuals and families have signed up for health insurance through healthcare.gov.
And the Daily Mail reported that just 51,000 people even completed applications in the rollout’s first week.
Watchdog.org is looking for people who have either signed up — or been unable to sign up — for insurance via healthcare.gov in Virginia.
Email Kathryn Watson at [email protected] if you have a story to tell.
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