ABC News has revealed that internal Obama administration memos show President Obama and his administration’s claim that using paper applications or enrolling in Obamacare by phone memos would be more reliable than using the failing government website was a lie.
An October 11 memo from the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight reads: “The same portal is used to determine eligibility no matter how the application is submitted (paper, online.) The paper applications allow people to feel like they are moving forward in the process and provides another option. At the end of the day, we are all stuck in the same queue.”
An October 25 memo states: “Navigators are seeing people very frustrated and walking away, so they are turning to paper applications to protect their reputations as people in the communities who can help, even though the paper applications will not have a quicker result necessarily.”
The memos were prepared by senior staff inside the Department of Health and Human Services and released to the Republican-chaired House Oversight Committee.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius acknowledged in her testimony last week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the paper applications were no faster than waiting for the government website. She said, “They put the application into the site and get a determination. That’s part of what the process is. So the site is part of the portal all the way through.”
Meanwhile, Obama implied that a better alternative for those frustrated with the government website was available, saying, “Ultimately, this website, HealthCare.gov, will be the easiest way to shop for and buy these new plans. But, look, there’s no denying it, right now, the website is too slow, too many people have gotten stuck. In the meantime, you can still apply for coverage over the phone, or by mail, or in person, because those plans are waiting and you’re still able to get the kind of affordable, reliable health insurance that’s been out of reach for too many people for too long.”
Senior administration officials admitted that Obama knew that the paper and phone applications would be in the same queue as the website applications.