The White House isn’t sharing Obamacare exchange enrollment numbers with anyone — not even Democrats who support the health care law.
Obama administration officials in charge of the federal exchange briefed House Democrats on the HealthCare.gov problems at their weekly caucus meeting Wednesday, but refused to give members any information on enrollment other than that the administration is “not where it wants or needs to be,” Politico reports.
The White House will announce enrollment numbers on a monthly basis, but hasn’t released the first set of figures yet.
Supporters are getting increasingly frustrated with the administration’s botched launch of the federal exchange and the White House appears to be losing support.
“It’s screwed up,” New York Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel said Wednesday.
“General assurances aren’t going to make anyone feel better,” said Washington Democrat Rep. Rick Larsen. “The administration needs to be specific about what they’re doing to solve specific problems.”
The federal government’s secrecy regarding enrollment numbers hasn’t been confined to Congress. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of North Dakota announced Monday evening that the Obama administration had asked the company not to reveal enrollment numbers for the state. BCBS released the number anyway: 14 individuals have enrolled with the company since October 1.
State governments and media outlets have resorted to calling individual insurance agencies that are selling coverage on the exchanges to compile enrollment figures on their own. North Dakota has 20 confirmed enrollments overall, while South Dakota has 23 and Wisconsin has signed up “less than 50.”
The low numbers already reported could explain the administration’s lack of transparency. Democrats have started pushing back against HealthCare.gov’s poor performance.
New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell said after Wednesday’s briefing that if the problems persist, “maybe we would have to consider a short delay in terms of the individual mandate,” a key part of the exchanges being able to gather enough participation to keep premium rates down.
Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has even called for someone in the administration should be fired over the HealthCare.gov problems. “People are not held to account,” Nelson said Tuesday.
The administration expects to release the first HealthCare.gov enrollment figures in mid-November.
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