Sunday, January 05, 2014

House to take up bill to Demand Obamacare Updates. Lamar Alexander leads effort in Senate

Since the launch of the Obamacare website, the administration has been secretive about how many people have attempted to sign up and how many have successfully signed up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.  The administration has released sporadic data when the demand for answers got so loud they could not be ignored or when the data suited the purposes of the administration.  This should not only frustrate Republicans, but should frustrate everyone who believes in open government.

How many people have enrolled is not a national security issue.  That is not classified information. Unfortunately, as of last October Senate Democrats were happy with keeping health enrollment numbers secret and blocked a bill sponsored by Senator Alexander that would  have required weekly reports on the Obamacare exchanges.

The coming week, the issue will be back before Congress when House Republicans will began work on H.R. 3362, the House version of the bill. The bill will require weekly reports from the Obama administration on how many people are using the website and signing up for health insurance.  It would require weekly updates on the number of unique website visitors, new accounts, and new enrollments in a qualified health plan, as well as the level of coverage. The data would have to be provided on a state-by-state basis. Weakly the administration would also have to report on efforts made to solve any website or enrollment problems.

Alexander has been outspokenly frustrated by the administration's secrecy regarding the progress of Obamacare enrollment and made the following statement when his bill was blocked in October. 
Before the Internet, RCA knew how many records Elvis was selling every day.  Before the Internet, Ford knew how many cars they were selling every day. Before the Internet, McDonald’s could tell you how many hamburgers it had sold each day. Yet the Obama administration cannot tell us how many Americans have tried to sign up for Obamacare.

With Wikileaks and Edward Snowden spilling our beans every day, what’s happening on the Obamacare exchanges is the only secret left in Washington. The National Security Agency should learn some lessons from Secretary Sebelius.

We shouldn't have to rely on anonymous sources to get basic information about what's happening with the Obamacare exchanges. They should be able to provide it really every minute. We shouldn't have to pass a law to find these things out.
The mainstream media likes to blame extreme partisanship and government gridlock on the Republicans, yet the administration will not voluntarily supply simple numbers which are readily available about the roll out of the Affordable Care Act and  Democrats in Congress oppose requiring the Administration to provide the information.  Republicans should stand firm and allow no administration initiative to see the light of day until this bill passes. Compromise and Reasonableness is a two-way street.

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