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Tensions hit boiling point over Obamacare enrollment figures, error rates

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Republican lawmakers are throwing cold water on a reports that 29,000 Americans enrolled in health coverage through the federal Obamacare website in the first two days of December, or right after officials announced widespread fixes to HealthCare.gov.

“If the Administration is going to hit their enrollment targets, they need to be enrolling close to 100,000 per day,” said Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

“The reports that only 29,000 signed up in the first two days of December is just more bad news for ObamaCare  — that is less than 15 percent of what the Administration needs over a two-day period.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would not verify the 29,000-figure on Wednesday during its daily press update on HealthCare.gov’s performance.

Instead, CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said the agency is “scrubbing” the latest enrollment numbers for accuracy and will release them midway through this month.

The administration released enrollment for Oct. 1-Nov. 2 about three weeks ago, which revealed only 106,000 people had enrolled through the Obamacare exchange nationwide and that fewer than 27,000 of those were from the federally run exchanges.

Despite the focus on enrollment, a different set of figures is roiling reporters who cover the health care law.

Numerous media outlets repeatedly have asked CMS to provide the error rate among back-end reports that are sent from the exchanges to the insurers. The transmissions, of “834 reports,” provide vital detail about enrollees’ and their preferred plans, but have been riddled with errors.

Ms. Bataille has been unable to quantify the prevalence of the errors, although she has provided other metrics. The other day, she said about 80 percent of the 834-form errors were corrected when the repair team patched up a bug that prevent Social Security Numbers from being included on the forms.

 

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