Yesterday comments from a Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota official raised a lot of eyebrows. James Nichol told a crowd in Fargo that the Obama administration had asked them not to report what are, frankly, embarrassing enrollment numbers for North Dakota through the federal exchange.
As of yesterday, just 20 people have managed to successfully enroll.
But now BCBS is saying that Nichol was confused, and that the Obama administration never made such a request. Kyle Potter, who broke the original story, reports
FARGO – Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota says a company official “misunderstood internal discussions” when he said the Obama administration asked the state’s largest health insurer to keep quiet about how many people had enrolled so far through a new online exchange.
Spokeswoman Andrea Dineen said in a statement Wednesday that the company had received no such request from the federal government.
Potter notes that neither Medica nor Sanford, the two other companies selling in North Dakota through the exchange, have reported getting similar instructions from the feds. Of course, those companies are also a marginal part of the individual insurance market, representing less than 5% of policies issued in the state according to the North Dakota Insurance Department.
The question is, did Nichol really get confused? Or is BCBS carrying the Obama administration’s water? For what it’s worth, the feds aren’t commenting on the matter.
And, again, it’s worth remembering that BCBS has packed it PR department with Democrats including Pam Gulleson who ran for Congress on the Democrat ticket last year.