Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Jim Bourg/Reuters) Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

On his MSNBC broadcast of Dec. 11, host Ed Schultz demanded that his viewers sit up and take note of something he was about to say. In his trademarked bluster, the towering liberal radio and television personality held forth on what he viewed as encouraging, just-released Obamacare enrollment numbers. He displayed the graph showing sign-ups on the federal health-care exchange over the weeks since the Oct. 1 kickoff of HealthCare.gov:

obamacare-enrollment-line-graph

Schultz: “And as you can see, enrollment has skyrocketed over the past few weeks. If this trend keeps up, ooh, December, it’s going to be a dandy, a heck of a month for Obamacare.”

After several additional minutes of Obamacare exuberance, Schultz stepped out on the ledge:

I’m going to make a prediction tonight. It’s going to hit 5 million by March 1st. That’s right. Five million people signed up by March 1st. Get your tapes rolling at home, folks, because it’s going to be a big “I told you so.”

Yes, a big “I told you so” for Schultz’s detractors. Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Obamacare enrollment as of March 1 stood at 4.2 million.

Had that figure been 800,000 higher, Uncle Ed would have bellowed to viewers at the very top of his show, chest first, about the ascendancy of Obamacare. Instead, he started out by discussing the Keystone XL pipeline.

Later in the show, he discussed the Obamacare enrollment numbers with guest Wendell Potter of the Center for Public Integrity:

SCHULTZ: The administration says over 4.2 million people have enrolled in health care since October 1st. Obviously, the web site is working or the conservative media would be all over it. You like this number, is this a good number, and where we going to be at the end of this month?
POTTER: You know, it`s a pretty good number from where we are right now. Just think we — this is just for five months, 4.2 million Americans who didn’t have insurance or people who signed up for coverage, that’s — in addition to about 4.5 million people who’ve been deemed eligible for Medicaid, under the Medicaid expansion.

No defiant predictions in this segment.

 

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.