House panel subpoenas administration on Obamacare enrollment

WASHINGTON Tue Nov 5, 2013 5:17pm EST

The federal government forms for applying for health coverage are seen at a rally held by supporters of the Affordable Care Act, widely referred to as ''Obamacare'', outside the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center in Jackson, Mississippi October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

The federal government forms for applying for health coverage are seen at a rally held by supporters of the Affordable Care Act, widely referred to as ''Obamacare'', outside the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center in Jackson, Mississippi October 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Bachman

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A House of Representatives oversight panel subpoenaed the Obama administration on Tuesday for internal reports showing the number of people who have enrolled in health coverage through new online insurance marketplaces in all 50 states.

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp said the subpoena was necessary to learn how many people must enroll by the end of December to ensure that those who want benefits are able to obtain them by January 1. That is when coverage is scheduled to begin under the healthcare reform law known as Obamacare.

"Actual enrollment could lag projections by over 1 million people," Camp said in the letter to Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "There is no evidence this system is capable of handling this type of volume."

Camp said status reports on enrollment had been made available to top officials including Tavenner and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. But he complained the administration had refused to share them with congressional investigators. Tavenner told a Senate oversight panel earlier on Tuesday that the administration would release enrollment figures for October next week.

The administration and 14 states have built online marketplaces or exchanges that offer private coverage to millions of uninsured people, often at federally subsidized prices. Some exchanges have had a rocky start, particularly the federal web portal,, which administration officials acknowledge has been able to enroll only a small number of people since October 1 because of technical problems.

Camp said internal administration memos projected 494,620 enrollees for the month of October and 706,600 for November, but that the actual number could be lower than 100,000 for last month. Tavenner told the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee that the administration had expected 800,000 enrollees in the federal exchange alone by the end of November.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Comments (6)
Bighammerman wrote:
They need to do the same for IRS, Bengazhi, Fast and Furious and all the other stuff the Obama Administration is covering up.

-Security leaks regarding informants

Nov 05, 2013 6:14pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Stu_ell wrote:
There are documents on the web which show on day 1 of Obamacare the number of people who signed up was… 6.

On day two, another 248 people signed up.

People aren’t buying Obamacare because you can wait until you are sick before you purchase insurance and they still have to cover you. I assume the people who have already purchased it are already sick.

Of course if you are a politician, then its free anyway. The reasons for this are obviously to promote fairness and equality under the law >_>

What a shambles, American should simply copy the British system which has 60 years of history to demonstrate that it works, it requires no cash registers and no website.

Nov 05, 2013 6:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
flashrooster wrote:
And how does this help Americans? Here’s an idea. Instead of spending millions investigating the number of Americans who have signed up for the ACA, focus that energy on new and better ways of offering affordable healthcare for all Americans. Doesn’t that make more sense? Or instead of repealing healthcare reform, repeal the part of Bush’s Medicare Prescription D Drug Plan that forbids Medicare officials from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices. Doesn’t that make more sense? The Republicans won’t do that because they don’t want Americans to have affordable healthcare. They have made it their mission to make sure millions of Americans continue to suffer because they can’t afford health insurance, or they’re struggling to pay their medical bills and being forced into bankruptcy. Thanks to America’s conservatives we’re the only developed nation that doesn’t offer all of its citizens a means to afford healthcare. They make a mockery of Christianity.

Well guess what? Obamacare is here to stay. You can either choose to do the right thing and make the best of it, or you can fight to be on the wrong side of history and try to keep millions from having access to affordable healthcare. It’s just mind blowing to see how easy US conservatives are made to believe things that the rest of the world sees as ridiculous and immoral. It’s okay to spend money on people in foreign countries, blowing them up then putting them back together. Just don’t spend it here on Americans or improving America.

Anyone advocating failure of the ACA without offering a better idea, is advocating death to Americans. Challenge your little puddles of grey matter and offer a better solution to our healthcare problems. Or just shut up.

Nov 05, 2013 7:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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