White House Opposes 'Costly' Obamacare Transparency Bill
President Barack Obama’s White House has announced its opposition to a bill from Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) that would force the administration to provide Congress with a detailed set of Obamacare-related information every week.
The White House claims the bill is “extraneous” and “costly” to taxpayers, even though the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored the bill as having zero cost.
The House is expected to vote on the bill later this week, but the President is planning to oppose it if it makes it through the Senate. “How can the President cite ‘cost’ when the CBO scored this bill at zero?” Terry said in a release in response to Obama’s opposition. “It’s obvious that the Obama Administration is desperate to avoid any effort to get the facts. What exactly are they so afraid we’ll find if we have real-time transparency?”
Terry’s H.R. 3362, entitled the Exchange Information Disclosure Act, would require the administration to submit weekly reports to Congress, governors, insurance commissioners, and the public, detailing everything about Obamacare at that given moment.
In an exclusive op-ed for Breitbart News, Terry wrote about what the administration would need to disclose weekly:
This includes a state-by-state breakdown of unique website visits, individuals who create an account, how many individuals successfully enroll in a qualified health plan or Medicaid, a detailed description of problems identified with website functionality, actions taken to address those problems, and a list of all navigators and certified application counselors that have been trained and certified by the exchanges.
Essentially, such legislation would serve as a rolling subpoena; every week, the administration would need to provide data it is not currently providing to the public or to Congress.
Terry wrote for Breitbart News that the need for such a forced disclosure from the administration is evident from the Obama administration’s failure to comply with congressional investigations into matters like Operation Fast and Furious and the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. “When automatic weapons were smuggled across the border into the waiting hands of drug cartels, the Obama Administration refused to turn over to Congress documents that would detail who knew what and when about Operation Fast and Furious,” Terry wrote. “When a planned terrorist attack resulted in the murder of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Libya, the Obama Administration sent the U.N. Ambassador Rice on the Sunday shows to lie to the American people.”
Terry argued that Obamacare has been similarly scandalous, which makes it necessary for Congress to force disclosures from the Department of Health and Human Services and other administration agencies. “When the President was campaigning for passage of his health care plan, he assured the American people that under his ‘reform’ if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” Terry wrote, providing a few of the many examples of Obamacare’s disastrous rollout failures, adding:
When the Administration launched healthcare.gov on October 1, 2013, they did so despite the fact that their own Chief Information Security Officer recommended denying the authority to operate healthcare.gov due to security risks. Knowing your information was vulnerable and ignoring internal security requirements, the Obama Administration went live with healthcare.gov, placing more value on political expediency than on protecting the best interests of your personal and private information.
According to a document Terry’s office provided to Breitbart News, specific pieces of information the Obama administration would need to provide to Congress and make available to the public in the weekly reports under Terry’s rolling subpoena bill include: the number of unique web visits to healthcare.gov, the number of web chat logins, the number of individuals who create an account, the number of people who enrolled in a QHP, the number of people who enrolled in Medicaid “and whether they became eligible to enroll due to PPACA or were otherwise eligible,” a breakdown of the number of people enrolled per zip code, the level of coverage each person who enrolled obtained, “the number of individuals who have ‘effectuated’ enrollment by paying their first monthly premium,” and the age of such individuals. Each of those details would need to be broken down state-by-state, as well.
In addition, the document Terry’s office provided to Breitbart News states that the bill would also require a “detailed description of problems identified with website functionality,” any “actions taken to address these problems,” and details about any third party contractors being hired to deal with the issues. Such problem descriptions, Terry’s office’s document states, include issues people may have logging into the website, enrolling in a plan, and transferring to state Medicaid programs. Issues with calculations of tax credits, cost-sharing reductions, and Medicaid or CHIP would also need to be divulged. Furthermore, the administration would have to detail problems with income or identity verification, consumer privacy and data security, and the transference of information to health insurance issuers.