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Key Hill Republican demands Obamacare sign-up numbers now
Question of the Day
The Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday demanded Obamacare enrollment figures from the Obama administration, citing reports that federal officials and contractors discussed the trickle of people gaining coverage under the law as early as Oct. 1, the first day the web-based insurance markets went live.
Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican, told Marilyn Tavenner, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) chief directly in charge of the implementation of the health care law, in a letter on Friday to give his committee whatever data are available. The administration has said the figures, combining federal and state-based exchanges, will not be made public until later this month.
"The committee is not prepared to wait until 'around mid-November' for the administration's scrubbed and spun numbers," Mr. Camp wrote. "Enrollment data exists today that will help this committee begin to address the implications of the failed launch. Committee members need to know the challenges the [CMS] is facing — we need to know what you know."
Mr. Camp highlighted Ms. Tavenner's testimony before his committee last week, when she said she does not have enrollment data.
But House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, released memos late Tuesday from contractors who discussed early enrollment with federal officials.
Going forward, Mr. Camp said, he wants enrollment figures for each day by 5 p.m. If the agency does not comply, he said, he will issue a subpoena for the records.
For its part, CMS said the memos released by Mr. Issa amount to "meeting notes" that cannot be verified as accurate or reliable.
They reiterated their promise to release figures by mid-November and on a monthly basis.
"I think that one of the reasons why it's important to do it on a monthly basis is to make sure that the data is checked and is accurate," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday. "Remember — it's coming in from a variety of places, both via the website and ... from states who are running their own exchanges, from applicants who go through mail or go through in-person centers or through the call centers."
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About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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