CBS This Morning's Research-Free Health Care Report

CBS News political correspondent Jan Crawford claimed that CBS couldn't “find anyone who's enrolled” in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since the exchanges went online, proving not that Americans haven't signed up for the exchanges, but that CBS did not look very hard for examples.

On the October 16 edition of CBS This Morning, Crawford described the exchanges as a “complete disaster” and quoted from a Miami Herald article describing ACA enrollees as an “urban legend”:

Contrary to Crawford's claim, reports of individuals who have successfully signed up for health insurance exchanges are readily available:

  • Joshua Pittman, a libertarian Republican from Alabama "successfully enrolled" in a Bronze-level Obamacare health insurance plan.
  • Phil Sherburne "struck gold" when he purchased family health coverage through the ACA online exchange for $123 a month.
  • Alexandra Brewer of Fort Worth, Texas was able to enroll after 15 minutes on the phone with a representative.
  • Tonia McMillian was “just floored” that she was able to obtain insurance for herself and her son for $183 a month.
  • Leslie Foster, a freelance filmmaker in California who received a “great deal” on health insurance for $62 a month

In addition, directly in the Miami Herald article Crawford quoted as describing enrollees as an “urban legend,” there are several examples of citizens who have successfully signed up for the exchanges:

Florida CHAIN, a statewide consumer health advocacy group, has highlighted the story of Vincent Mutia, a 24-year-old political science student at the University of Central Florida.

Mutia said he tried to enroll on the first day but ran into problems that kept him from shopping the available plans, applying for a subsidy and making a purchase.

“In the last few days,'' Mutia told the Herald on Friday, ”the experience became more fluid. I was able to put in all my information. After the security questions, I created an account."

Last week, the Orlando Sentinel reported the story of one man who succeeded in buying a plan -- after starting at 6 a.m. on the day the exchange launched.

Daniel McNaughton, a 22-year-old computer science student at Valencia College in Orlando, told the newspaper he purchased a Florida Blue plan that will cost him $70 a month after the federal subsidy.

Crawford's accusation ignored even her own reporting -- Later in the segment, she claimed that October 15 was the first time White House Press Secretary Jay Carney “managed to identify” individuals who had signed up for the exchanges. Yet Crawford overlooks an October 4 press briefing where Carney identified Alabama's Pittman and Butch Matthews, a small business owner from Arkansas, as successful enrollees:

CARNEY: Joshua Pittman is a 31-year-old, self-employed videographer from Alabama -- a libertarian Republican who voted for Ron Paul in 2012, and believes that Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, is the future of the GOP -- successfully enrolled in a bronze-level Obamacare health insurance plan yesterday. 

Butch Matthews is a 61-year-old former small business owner from Little Rock, Arkansas, who used to wake up every morning at 4:00 a.m. to deliver canned beverages to retailers before retiring in 2010.  A lifelong Republican, he was heavily skeptical of the Affordable Care Act when it first passed.  “I did not think that Obamacare was going to be a good plan.  I did not think that it was going to help me at all.  I am still a very strong Republican, but this -- I'm so happy that this came along.”  It saves him $13,000 per year.

Reports of Americans successfully signing up for the exchanges are readily available. In Kentucky alone, 240 small businesses have enrolled in order to provide their staffs with healthcare. MSNBC reported that as of October 12 the state was averaging 1,000 individual enrollees per day. Furthermore, in California 28,000 have signed up, and in New York 40,000 have signed up.