The PJ Tatler

House Committee Threatens to Subpoena Obamacare Enrollment numbers

Just how bad were those first couple of days that healthcare.gov was operational? According to documents released by the House Oversight Committee, there were precisely 6 Americans who endured the torture of a dysfunctional website to enroll in an Obamacare insurance plan on the first day.

Not a typo: 6.

It didn’t get much better over the next couple of days:

Fox News’ Ed Henry told Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File” Thursday that the documents, released by committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, are not official enrollment numbers, but say that as of the morning of Oct. 2, “six enrollments have occurred so far with five different issuers.”

The notes were taken at a “war room” meeting of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which has been tasked with implementing ObamaCare.

They say that at the next meeting, which took place on the afternoon of Oct. 2, “approximately 100” people had signed up and 248 enrollments had occurred by the morning of Oct. 3.

The Obama administration has thus far not released any official numbers on ObamaCare enrollment, saying the first numbers would be released in mid-November after the HHS collects data from a variety of different sources.

A HHS spokesman told Fox News the documents “appear to be notes,” and do not include official enrollment statistics.

“As the Secretary said before Congress, we are focused on providing reliable and accurate information and we do not have that at this time due to the issues with 834 forms,” Joanne Peters said. “We have always anticipated that the pace of enrollment will increase throughout the enrollment period.”

Health care industry consultant Robert Laszewski told Kelly the numbers are not surprising, saying “clearly the White House does not want insurance companies talking about what’s going here.”

“And given what was released tonight, the news that so very few people are signing up, you can see why,” he continued. “If four weeks ago the enrollment numbers were public it would look very bad. I can tell you based upon the information that I continue to get this trickle of enrollment that you’re reporting on for the first three days has really continued for the first month.”

Apparently, HHS could, if it desired, release figures daily on how many people have actually enrolled in insurance plans. Chalk it up as one more lie the White House is telling about Obamacare. They claim there’s no way they can tally the number of enrollees.

But White House foot dragging on releasing those Obamacare numbers has frustrated Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp who is threatening to subpoena the records if they’re not forthcoming this week.

“We are facing a crisis,” Camp wrote. “The failed launch of the exchanges combined with the millions of cancellation notices is putting Americans health care coverage at risk. By all media accounts, enrollment in the exchanges is thus far significantly behind the administration’s projections.”

Camp cited media reports indicating the administration has direct access to daily enrollment figures. Raising questions about the administration’s transparency on the rollout, Tavenner declined to provide the committee with signup numbers at a hearing this week.

The Obama administration has thus far not released any official numbers on ObamaCare enrollment, saying the first numbers would be released in mid-November after the Department of Health and Human Services collects data from a variety of different sources.

“The committee is not prepared to wait until ‘around mid-November’ for the administration’s scrubbed and spun numbers,” Camp wrote. “Enrollment data exists today that will help this committee begin to address the implications of the failed launch.”

Camp asked Tavenner to provide the committee with daily enrollment figures, warning that refusing to comply with the request “will be met with subpoenas to compel their production.”

On another front, oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa has issued a subpoena to HHS requesting documents “related to technical problems with healthcare.gov, the testing that went into the website and the number of people who have enrolled and attempted to enroll in federal exchanges through healthcare.gov” by Nov. 13.” IT experts who examine those documents will probably have some pretty harsh things to say about the way the site was designed.

This has gone far beyond a matter of cheerleading by the GOP to see the failure of Obamacare. We now have the dangerous prospect, as Rep. Camp points out. of millions of people losing their insurance while being unable to find a substitute on the exchanges. There is no guarantee that in less than 60 days when most of those cancelled policies would need to be replaced, there will be a working healthcare.gov site that will allow cancelled consumers to reinsure with an Obamacare policy.

The administration has no answers except to blame subcontractors, blame insurance companies, and blame the GOP for troubles that are wholly owned by the president and his administration. Time for them to own up to the mess and either delay or scrap the bulk of Obamacare’s ruinous mandates.