In Letter to Insurance Providers, Committee Leaders Pursue Greater Transparency and Seek to Answer: #WhosPaid
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today sent letters to every insurance provider participating in the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace requesting specific enrollment data, including the number of individuals who have paid their first month’s premium and those who are identified as previously uninsured. The letters seek data to create a more comprehensive picture of the health care law’s enrollment as the White House has failed to provide a complete assessment.
“Who’s paid? That’s what Congress wants to know as the Obama administration refuses to be straight with the American public. The numbers on who has paid will give a much clearer and accurate assessment of the state of the president’s signature health care law. Who has fully enrolled in a health care plan and how many of those were previously uninsured?” asked full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “In the wake of the law’s troubled rollout, officials have tried for months to backtrack and redefine metrics for success. If the administration won’t provide transparency, we will work with every insurance provider to get the real picture the White House seemingly wants to hide from the public.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest recently said, “questions about who exactly has paid for the health insurance can best be directed to those private insurance companies that are collecting those payments.” This week the administration released its latest round of enrollment data, once again failing to account for who has paid for the first month’s premium. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was pressed for this data again at a House hearing on Wednesday but suggested that the administration did not have those details. Throughout open enrollment, the administration has chosen to define “enrolled” as the number of people who have merely “selected a plan.”
Just last week, Gary Cohen, the outgoing Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, confirmed that the administration is not collecting data on how many enrollees were previously uninsured: “That’s not a data point that we are really collecting in any sort of systematic way.” The Washington Post recently reported that “the online application, which most people use to enroll, asks whether people want to apply for coverage but does not give them a place to indicate whether they have insurance now or have had it in the past. As a result, HHS analysts have no way to assess how many of the online enrollees were uninsured in the past.” This letter seeks to provide this information wherever possible.
The letter was signed by Upton, full committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), Vice Chairman of the Health and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX).
Read the complete letter online here.