The White House has no idea how many people have paid for their Obamacare premiums, a Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services official admitted Thursday during a hearing on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

“We don’t know at this point how many people have actually paid for coverage?” a slightly astonished Congressman Greg Harper (R-Miss.) asked during the hearing.

“That’s right,” replied Gary Cohen, the director of Medicare’s Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.

Further, Cohen admitted, the Obama administration is still working on building the payment portion of the healthcare.gov website.

“The automated process for payments is still being built, but we have a process in place that is working and payments will be going out next week,” Cohen said, adding that he couldn’t say exactly when the payment portion of the site would be ready to launch.

Cohen’s ‘s admission means the White House’s official “signup” numbers are 100 percent meaningless. Remember, no one is officially covered until they pay their premium. If the White House doesn’t know who has paid, then it doesn’t actually know who is covered (again, the distinction between enrollment and signup).

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