By Elise Viebeck - 05/01/14 12:31 PM EDT
White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday slammed a Republican report alleging that one-third of enrollees in ObamaCare's federal exchanges have not paid their first premium.
The data, released Wednesday night by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, only counted premiums paid through April 15, Carney said, leaving out millions of people who had not hit their first payment deadline.
"What you have here is partial information packaged in a way to try to undermine what must be depressing reality to those who want to repeal the [Affordable Care Act]," Carney said at a White House briefing.
"Millions of Americans enrolled, exceeding even our most optimistic expectations ... I know that's frustrating, but it is a fact."
The GOP numbers put the Obama administration on the spot this week by reopening a debate over how many people have paid for the coverage they obtained on the marketplaces.
As of Thursday, that number was likely to be somewhat lower than the 8 million enrollments touted by the administration, which counted people who signed up for plans rather than those who paid.
Health insurance companies have consistently said that 80 to 90 percent of new exchange enrollees have submitted their first payment. Wellpoint, the largest insurer on the exchanges by volume, said Wednesday that its figure was 90 percent.
The media has repeatedly pressed the administration to release its own payment figures, but officials have refused so far, citing only estimates from insurers.
Carney said Thursday that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would release the data eventually but did not say when.
"We wait until we have all the information and we put it out. And almost every time it ends up being far better than what Republicans say it will be," Carney said.
The Energy and Commerce Committee said Thursday that its data covered all plans available on the federally facilitated exchanges.
Only 67 percent of new policyholders had paid their first month's premium as of April 15, the committee report stated.