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White House Acknowledges Over-Counting Obamacare Signups

The White House acknowledged today that it overreported the number of signups under the Affordable Care Act by nearly 400,000 people.

Some people with separate medical and dental plans were counted twice, leading the administration to state erroneously that more than 7 million had enrolled in coverage under ACA, instead of the correct figure of about 6.7 million.

The discrepancy was discovered during an audit by the Republican-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Associated Press says: "Those consumers have separate dental coverage in addition to a medical plan, and were double-counted by mistake, said [White House spokesman Aaron] Albright. They had purchased both the medical and dental plans through HealthCare.gov and state insurance markets created under the law."

"It was a mistake," Albright said in response to a statement by committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who accused the administration of engaging "in an effort to obscure and downplay the number of dropouts."

In May, the White House said that more than 8 million sign-ups had occurred, but as the AP notes, while that number was celebrated as a triumph for the health care law, "[the] 8-million number was always expected to go down, because it included people who had not yet sealed the deal by paying their first month's premium."

Ultimately, the correction means the White House did not reach its original target of 7 million.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.