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Kathleen Sebelius Has Changed Her Mind About What Obamacare "Success" Is

Lower expectations — and reality — for the Obama administration. The HHS secretary walks back the 7 million enrollment target.

Posted on February 25, 2014, at 11:59 a.m. ET

Jim Bourg / Reuters / Reuters

In 2013, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said "success" for Obamacare enrollment looked like seven million people. Now, she's contesting that.

"First of all, 7 million was not the administration," Sebelius told Huff Post Live in an interview Tuesday. "That was a CBO, Congressional Budget Office prediction when the bill was first signed. I'm not quite sure where they even got their number. Their number's all over the board, and you know, the vice president has looked and said it may be closer to 5 to 6. I'm more interested in what we are doing today: getting the word out to target populations."

Last June, according to the Washington Post, Sebelius told reporters, "We're hopeful that 7 million is a realistic target."

It's a number the Health and Human Services secretary reiterated to NBC News in September as well.

"I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014," she said.

The White House seems to have shifted its opinion on the enrollment numbers after Obamacare got off to a slow start when glitches and malfunctions plagued the website. In December of last year, White House aide Phil Schiliro made the claim 7 million was never a target number.

"That was never our target number," he said. "That was a target that came from the Congressional Budget Office, and it has become an accepted number. There's no magic to the 7 million. What there is magic to is that in the month of December a million Americans signed up for insurance."

Here's Sebelius saying on Huff Post Live that 7 million was never an administration figure:

And here she is in September saying 7 million looked like a success:

View this video on YouTube

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.