When does government incompetence turn to government corruption? When the incompetent government officials lie, stonewall, and refuse to obey transparency laws.
That is exactly what is happening inside the Obama administration in an attempt to cover up an Obamacare blunder that places healthcare consumers in danger of having no coverage at all.
Judicial Watch initiated an investigation of the matter and ran right into an Obama administration stonewall. On March 27, 2014, JW was forced to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Specifically, JW seeks records regarding the testing and oversight of the Obama administration’s error-filled Healthcare.gov “834” reporting forms.
Form 834 is an electronic file sent from HealthCare.gov to an insurance company after a consumer picks a healthcare coverage plan. The file is supposed to contain the person’s name, address, contact information, Social Security number, and information about the plan they have chosen. Insurance companies use the form to enroll people in insurance plans and bill consumers for their portion of the payment. An inaccurate 834 form may result in consumers either not having coverage or being turned down for payment claims.
Of course, this problem threatens the Obama administration’s narrative that everything is hunky dory with the Obamacare rollout and that the administration hit all of its goals for the number of Americans covered – hence the cover-up.
Here’s what we’re after:
- Any and all documents and communications generated on or after April 1, 2103, regarding the timing and procedures for testing the back end systems that are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of Form 834 transactions on Healthcare.gov;
- Any and all documents and communications generated on or after April 1, 2013, regarding reports of instances or potential instances of inaccuracies, discrepancies, and/or missing information in Form 834 transactions;
- Any and all documents and communications generated on or after April 1, 2013, regarding the establishment and operation of an official mechanism to report and/or remedy instances of inaccuracies, discrepancies, and/or missing information in Form 834 transactions.
In a December 2, 2013 article entitled “Health-care enrollment on Web plagued by bugs,” the Washington Post reported: “The enrollment records for a significant portion of the Americans who have chosen health plans through the online federal insurance marketplace contain errors – generated by the computer system – that mean they might not get the coverage they’re expecting next month.” Also, the Form 834 problems “have affected roughly one-third of the people who have signed up for health plans since Oct. 1.”
Though the administration has refused to reveal how many consumers have been affected by the Form 834 failures, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesperson Julie Bataille admitted in early December that it is a major problem, being worked on by “a team of experts from CMS, key outside contractors working closely with health plan representatives and overseen by CMS’s general contractor, Optum/QSSI.”
At a December 5 press briefing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney described the costly Form 834 failures as “self-inflicted problems,” adding, “We know every person who has enrolled, or believes he or she has enrolled, we – the CMS and others, and every one of them is being contacted…”
None of this is reassuring.
The Obama administration has been playing games with the enrollment numbers from the very beginning, and it speaks volumes that the Obama administration doesn’t want to give us information about whether those who want insurance were actually able to get it through Healthcare.gov.
Given HHS’s unlawful cover up, it is fair to presume that President Obama’s touted figure of eight million Obamacare enrollments is a knowing fiction. With all its illegal stonewalling of basic information, we frankly can’t believe much of anything this administration has to say on what Obamacare is doing to the American people.