WASHINGTON -- Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Sunday dismissed the White House's recent announcement that Obamacare enrollment had reached more than 6 million people, calling it a meaningless figure.
"I don't think it means anything. ... I think they're cooking the books on this," said Barrasso on "Fox News Sunday."
On Thursday, the Obama administration had announced that the number of people who have chosen a health care plan through a state or federal exchange had topped 6 million, putting enrollment ahead of revised projections with several days still left before the March 31 deadline.
Barrasso said that simply putting out enrollment numbers isn't enough.
"What kind of insurance will those people actually have?" the senator asked. "Will they be able to keep the doctor that they want? How much more is it going to cost them? We know that some of the best cancer hospitals in the country want very little to do with people that actually buy this insurance on the Obamacare exchanges."
In a statement sent to reporters after Barrasso's TV appearance, the Democratic National Committee shot back, "It means something to the 105 million Americans who no longer have a lifetime cap on essential benefits, and it means something to the parents of over 17.6 million children who no longer have to worry about their kids being denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions. It means something to approximately 3 million young people who have health insurance through their parents' plan and it means something to the over 32.5 million seniors who have already received one or more free preventive services."
The Obama administration's announcement of how many people had signed up for private health care plans under the Affordable Care Act exceeded the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's estimate that 6 million people would sign up in the program's first year. That projection was down, however, from initial expectations of 7 million enrollees, due to problems with the federal website.