Politics
Elmo stands behind HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Giroux/Getty Images. Elmo stands behind HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Giroux/Getty Images.  

Draft Obamacare application asks about voter registration

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

The online application draft for health care insurance under Obamacare inquires if the applicant would like to register to vote and directs the applicant to a registration page if they answer in the affirmative.

Page 59 of the 61 page draft application, “List of Questions in the Online Application to Support Eligibility Determinations for Enrollment” developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and first reported by The Washington Examiner, asks applicants “Would you like to register to vote?” The “yes” answer linking to a blank registration form.

On Monday, House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany of Louisiana called on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to provide more information about the voter registration portion of the draft.

“The health care law spans 974 pages and regulated nearly one fifth of our economy, yet nowhere in the law is voter registration mentioned,” Boustany wrote in a letter to the HHS secretary. “The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) requires that federal agencies gather only appropriate information as required by legislation. While the health care law requires that government agencies collect vast information about Americans’ personal lives, it does not give your department an interest in whether individual Americans choose to vote.”

Boustany surmised that the placement of the voter registration question, in the middle of questions to determine eligibility for insurance policies, could lead some to believe their potential eligibility is contingent on whether they are registered to vote.

The Louisiana Republican requested that by April 8, Sebelius supply him with the department’s authorization to collect voter information under Obamacare and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, the titles of those responsible for clearing the document, and other drafts of the application.

Additionally, Boustany noted that many applicants will deal with the exchanges through “navigators” like AARP and Families USA, and requested all of the department’s draft guidance for the navigator program, and asked if the navigators will be “encouraged to ask applicants about their voting status.”

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