To celebrate new enrollment numbers Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell pulled out a selfie stick for a photo op. But there is nothing to cheer. ObamaCare is actually affordable to nearly nine out of ten clients only because of help from taxpayers.

Nearly 90 percent of those who signed up for healthcare coverage through the federal healthcare exchange qualified for government subsidies to pay for their plans. The Administration is touting this data as evidence that the Supreme Court should not invalidate the federal subsidies in the King v. Burwell case before them now.

Of the 11.7 million people who signed up through, the federal enrollment website, a total of 7.7 million people are slated to receive subsidies this year in 34 states. On average, an ObamaCare sign up who qualifies for subsidies pays less than one-quarter of her premium cost through an average subsidy of $263 per month. More than half of ObamaCare’s clients have ended up paying $100 or less per month after the tax credits.

These numbers are part of a new report that HHS released this week. Finally we’re getting some information from the Administration. Unfortunately, what we’re seeing is not great.

More than half (4.6 million) of those who selected a plan through are new consumers, and 47 percent (nearly 4.2 million) re-enrolled in ObamaCare coverage. Just shy of 30 percent of those who “re-enrolled” switched to a different plan. The Administration is excited about these active “re-enrollees” saying they are a higher proportion than seen in other government programs such as Medicare Part D, Medicare’s prescription drug program. The government doesn’t acknowledge that these clients may have been unhappy with their coverage and were looking for better options, and it doesn’t take into consideration that it is now illegal not to have coverage.

Unable to make a legal case for the subsidies, the Administration can’t stop talking about the sign-ups. CNBC reports:

"These numbers send a powerful message: the Affordable Care Act is working," [Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia] Burwell said Monday at a White House event, where Obamacare supporters were thanked for their efforts during the open enrollment season.

"These numbers represent real people whose lives have changed for the better," she said. "While we know that number [of customers] will change as the year continues, we are pleased with the results to date."

Enrollments aren't considered official until people pay for their first month's premiums. And officials expect some people to leave their individual health plans during the year even as some others enter the market, as was the case last year.

During the celebration of enrollment efforts and their results, Burwell brought out a long "selfie stick" to take a photo with herself and the crowd in the auditorium where she was speaking. But while that stunt tickled the crowd's funny bone, Burwell also underscored the risk that millions of those customers face from a pending Supreme Court case that challenges a key feature of the Affordable Care Act.

The Administration is using enrollment numbers as ammunition before the press to sway public opinion and justices of the Supreme Court. By claiming that the sky would fall if the subsidies were invalidated, they want to scare those who have coverage into vocal opposition.

The government in other words has provided something with illegal subsidies and claims that there will be untold suffering if these subsidies are not continued.  Legislators must do something temporary to help people who, through no fault of their own, were given these subsidies, but in the long run the essential thing is to reform health coverage.  A wobbly system that will collapse without taxpayer subsidies was never the way to reform health care. 

As we explain in Five Myths about King v. Burwell, Myth #4 is that if challengers win, millions of people will be harmed. That’s not entirely the case. Here’s why:

… the potentially affected subsidized consumers simply do not have to be harmed in the event that SCOTUS sides against the government. Congress can pass contingency legislation that will provide a responsible transition for the affected population. The IWV polling suggests that political pressure to hold harmless current subsidy recipients is strong (75 percent) and partisan (62 percent of Republicans), suggesting that it is basically inevitable that lawmakers act. A targeted, sensible fix could keep this year’s subsidies in place and allow affected states, in the future, to transition to a federalist, block-grant style health system.

Real healthcare reform is not a glorified insurance plan sponsored by the government and paid for by taxpayers.  No matter how nice Ms. Burwell looks in her latest selfie, no amount of posturing will make ObamaCare a good deal for Americans.