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Bridget Johnson


October 22, 2013 - 8:32 am

The ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is planning on introducing a bill that will require the Obama administration to deliver weekly updates to Congress, state governments and the public on the status of the flailing Obamacare exchanges.

Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-Tenn.) bill would required information about Obamacare enrollment, efforts to resolve the site’s technological problems, and information about organizations contracted as navigators.

“As millions of Americans have sat frustrated at their computers and on their phones, wasting hours trying to fulfill the Obamacare mandate and enroll in the exchanges, the administration has refused to provide critical information about what’s going wrong, or has dribbled out news through anonymous statements to reporters,” Alexander said. “This bill will require the administration to be honest and transparent with the public, governors overseeing state exchanges, state consumer protection regulators, and decision-makers in Congress. No more hiding the damage of the train wreck—Americans are on this train.”

Administration officials have to this point refused to give any figures from the program that launched Oct. 1, likely nervous that they’re not on track to meet the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of 7 million people signing up on the healthcare exchange in the first six months.

President Obama has vowed to tackle tech problems on the website while repeating that his healthcare program is “not just a website” and trying to steer people to phone lines (which have also crashed) and in-person signups to meet enrollment goals.

Alexander’s bill would require weekly reports about the 36 federally run exchanges, including the number of site visitors and the number who have successfully enrolled, their ZIP code, and the level of coverage they’ve obtained.

“This law is about as clear as mud, and instead of helping Americans understand their new obligations, the Obama administration has been burying important changes—not announcing them boldly as you’d expect an administration that’s proud of its new health care law to do,” the senator recently said. “Americans deserve better from the officials who are so committed to implementing this train wreck of a law.”

Another Senate bill introduced last weeks by Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) would fix the healthcare’s law several different definitions of “Indian,” which have led to conflicting interpretations of eligibility for benefits and requirements for coverage.

“I’ve said many times that the Affordable Care Act has flaws that need to be addressed and this is just one more way we can improve the law and ensure even more Alaskans have access to quality medical care,” said Begich. “I have heard from Alaska Tribal Health organizations for months about the urgent need to introduce legislation that will serve as a technical fix within the ACA to broaden the definition of Indian as applied to Alaska Natives. I see this bill as part of our duty to ensure that our tribes and tribal health organizations can best serve and offer health care to all of those who are intended to benefit from the Affordable Care Act, and as part of the federal government’s trust responsibility to the First Peoples of this country.”

The proposed legislation will change the definition of Indian within the Affordable Care Act to include all Alaska natives and native Hawaiians.

The Senate is back in session on Monday.


What books does Bridget Johnson recommend for 2013? Click here to see her picks at the Freedom Academy Book Club. 

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Just another RINO chairing another useless Senate committee. What's the point? We the people already know the thing is stinking up the place.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The way I read this, he has no intentions of Obamacare going away. He is a big government republican. Listen to him on this video:
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Only a Senator would think that passing another law is going to make this administration sit up and fly straight.
Crying out loud, do you expect Holder to just march into Sebelius's office and print out her executive spreadsheets if the ACA weekly updates are late?
The country has been illegally operating without a budget for 5 years, and I don't see anyone from the DOJ marching into the Capitol and arresting the Senate.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So let's just surrender to the outlaws.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another good idea that will never get across Dirty Harry's desk.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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