Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso accused the Obama administration of “cooking the books” on Obamacare enrollment numbers, claiming the number of people who actually paid for coverage or were previously uninsured is lower than the White House is suggesting.
Barrasso spoke with Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace and Maine Democratic Senator Angus King about the healthcare law. The Obama administration declared victory last week after reporting 6 million Obamacare sign-ups days before the open enrollment period (sort of) ends on March 31. (RELATED: White House extends Obamacare deadline yet again)
But the lack of specific numbers on those who have purchased a plan, were previously uninsured or are young, low-risk enrollees makes Barrasso suspicious.
“I don’t think [six million] means anything, Chris,” he began. “I think they’re cooking the books on this. People want to know the answers to that. They also want to know, when this is all said and done, what kind of insurance will those actually have?”
“Will they be able to keep the doctor that they want?” he continued. “How much more is it going to cost them? And we know that the best cancer hospitals in the country want very little to do with people that actually buy this insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.”
King pushed back against Barrasso’s claims, arguing that enrollees have now hit 6.5 million — “and those numbers don’t come from the White House” — and that “the sign-ups are getting younger by the day.”
“I think the data is making a lot of difference,” he continued, noting that while federal data is unavailable, numbers in Kentucky and New York suggest that vast majority of enrollees were previously uninsured. “Those numbers are going to sort themselves out over time,” he claimed.
The two senators argued over Obamacare’s prospects going forward, with King continuing to tout new sign-up statistics while Barrasso stressed that even paying enrollees will receive inadequate care.
The Wyoming senator also dismissed attempts by King and other Democratic senators to improve Obamacare.
“People say, ‘Can you fix it?'” he said. “I’ve looked at this ten different ways, Chris. This healthcare law is not fixable.”
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