- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2013

House Republicans suspect the White House has more Obamacare data than they’re letting on, a tug-of-war that’s playing out amid new fears Medicaid enrollment could far outpace requests for private insurance under President Obama’s program.

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, Michigan Republican, sent a stern letter Friday to Marilyn Tavenner, the federal official closest to the health care law’s implementation, that threatened to subpoena the records from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“The Committee is not prepared to wait until ‘around mid-November’ for the Administration’s scrubbed and spun numbers,” Mr. Camp wrote.

The White House has said it will release the figures on a monthly basis, beginning in mid-November, and that it takes time to gather reliable data from the federal exchange system and state-run markets.

But Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, last week released “war room meeting notes” that suggest Obamacare contractors discussed enrollment numbers with officials within CMS on Oct. 1 and 2.

The documents said only six people enrolled through HealthCare.gov — the federal website that processes applications from 36 states — on the first day. That number rose to 248 after the second day of activity.

The federal website has been plagued by problems that inhibit actual enrollment — picking a plan and paying for it — so the Obama administration only has said that at least 700,000 people have applied for coverage.

“These appear to be notes, they do not include official enrollment statistics,” HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said of Mr. Issa’s figures. “We will release enrollment statistics on a monthly basis after coordinating information from different sources such as paper, on-line, and call centers, verifying with insurers, and collecting data from states.

But Republicans are eager to highlight the myriad problems Obamacare is experiencing after their party took a dive in public-opinion polls for trying to dismantle the law in the run-up to the recent government shutdown.



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