Congressional Republicans on Monday accused the Obama administration of withholding data on insurance premiums because it would undermine positive trends the White House touted last week while promoting the health care law.
Citing news reports, three senior GOP senators and the chairmen of House health-related committees said the administration has collected premium filings for 34 states that will use a federally run or federal-state partnership exchange — a market where those without employer-based insurance can buy coverage with the help of government subsidies — but it will not release the information until September as it negotiates the final rates.
“We believe it is essential that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provide transparent pricing as soon as possible for the millions of Americans who will be impacted by this law,” they said in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, arguing many Americans’ premiums will rise under the Affordable Care Act.
They also accused the Obama administration of negotiating rates in secret, something the Wall Street Journal editorial page described as “running Obamacare as a black-ops mission.”
Supporters of the law have been buoyed by news out of New York, where officials last week said premiums on the state’s health care exchange in 2014 will be about 50 percent lower than last year’s direct-pay rates for individuals.
The Obama administration then released a report showing that, on average, premiums would drop by 18 percent in about 10 states and the District of Columbia. Those states have made information available for the individual market in 2014, when their health exchanges open under “Obamacare.”
Since then, Republicans have cited states where early data suggest that premiums will rise.
“Instead of selectively highlighting provisions and data that paint a rosy picture, we encourage the administration to give the American people as much information as possible so they can plan and prepare, and so that we can continue the necessary oversight,” the senior Republicans said in their letter.