U.S. House panel subpoenas administration on Obamacare enrollment

Reuters

WASHINGTON, Nov 5 (Reuters) - A U.S. House ofRepresentatives oversight panel subpoenaed the Obamaadministration on Tuesday for internal reports showing thenumber of people who have enrolled in health coverage throughnew online insurance marketplaces in all 50 states.

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp said the subpoenawas necessary to learn how many people must enroll by the end ofDecember to ensure that those who want benefits are able toobtain them by Jan. 1. That is when coverage is scheduled tobegin under the healthcare reform law known as Obamacare.

"Actual enrollment could lag projections by over 1 millionpeople," Camp said in the letter to Marilyn Tavenner,administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services."There is no evidence this system is capable of handling thistype of volume."

Camp said status reports on enrollment had been madeavailable to top officials including Tavenner and U.S. Healthand Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. But hecomplained the administration had refused to share them withcongressional investigators. Tavenner told a Senate oversightpanel earlier on Tuesday that the administration would releaseenrollment figures for October next week.

The administration and 14 states have built onlinemarketplaces or exchanges that offer private coverage tomillions of uninsured people, often at federally subsidizedprices. Some exchanges have had a rocky start, particularly thefederal web portal, HealthCare.gov, which administrationofficials acknowledge has been able to enroll only a smallnumber of people since Oct. 1 because of technical problems.

Camp said internal administration memos projected 494,620enrollees for the month of October and 706,600 for November, butthat the actual number could be lower than 100,000 for lastmonth. Tavenner told the Senate Health Education Labor andPensions Committee that the administration had expected 800,000enrollees in the federal exchange alone by the end of November.

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