WASHINGTON – Since October 1, more Americans have enrolled in “Beer of the Month” clubs than Obamacare, according to healthcare and adult-beverage experts. While IPA-based beer clubs alone have attracted more than 200,000 new members in the last month, only about 106,000 people have signed up for healthcare through exchange websites set up by the Affordable Care Act, a number that Obama administration officials are calling “dismal,” “embarrassing,” and “a total buzzkill.”
According to a report released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 106,185 people enrolled in health insurance plans using federal or state-run exchange websites in the first month of their operation—less than two percent of the 7 million Americans that officials hope will sign up. Meanwhile, clubs that send their members a different six-pack of beer each month in exchange for a yearly fee have grown by over 500,000 members in the same time period.
Hog’s Head Beer of the Month Club member Ken Mitchell, 39, said that he tried to sign up for health insurance using Healthcare.gov, but, due to the site’s abundant technical problems, never got past the registration page.
“Eventually I gave up—but by then I was really frustrated, and I just wanted to relax with a beer,” Mitchell said. “Thankfully, the Hog’s Head website works just fine, and yesterday I received a creamy milk stout, which is much more satisfying and delicious than health insurance could ever be.”
“I think I’ll stay uninsured for now,” Mitchell added. “If I get hurt, I’ll just chug a few real heady brews until the pain subsides.”
The HHS report also indicated that only 3.8 percent of people who have completed applications on Healthcare.gov have gone on to select a plan, likely because the website has locked them out or stopped functioning. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney admitted that far fewer Americans have been able to enroll in healthcare plans than the administration hoped, but said that “comparing Obamacare to Beer of the Month clubs isn’t really fair.”
“Some of these clubs have been around since the 80’s,” Carney said. “They’ve had time to practice. On the other hand, this is all new to us.”
Critics of Obamacare agree that the comparison isn’t particularly helpful. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) pointed out that other kinds of clubs have memberships that dwarf that of Beer of the Month clubs, and make Obamacare look “truly pathetic.”
“This is nothing really,” Boehner said. “Take a look at nationwide ‘Sausage of the Month’ club memberships, and you’ll really see how grim these numbers are.”
“Even in the gluttonous U.S. of A, the fact that Obamacare is less popular right now than seafood sausages should pretty much say it all,” Boehner said.