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Topics: Obamacare

GOP leaders vow continued scrutiny of Obamacare

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Byron York,Obamacare,Kevin McCarthy,Cathy McMorris Rodgers

House Republicans want a true measurement of Obamacare's performance. How many Americans have genuinely enrolled? How many were previously uninsured? What about Medicaid? But it turns out that even though lawmakers have demanded information from the administration and passed legislation to get it -- the Exchange Information Disclosure Act being one such bill, passed by the House in January -- it turns out House Republicans know little more than the public about how Obamacare is doing, more than six months into its implementation.

The one thing Republicans know for sure is that they don't trust the Obama administration's press releases. In a new memo to House GOP lawmakers -- "Debunking Obamacare's 7 million Enrollees 'Success' Story" -- Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, founders of the House Obamacare Accountability Project, slam the administration for "refus[ing] to provide key information that would shed light on the true number of [Obamacare] enrollees." Among the numbers Republicans want, from the memo:

* How many effectuated enrollment (signed up and paid a premium)

* How many paid their first month’s premium but not their second or third

* How many were previously uninsured

* How many young and healthy signed up (affecting rates)

* How many received a subsidy (raising concerns about fraud)

"The major goal of Obamacare was to sign the uninsured up for health insurance, but several studies indicate that the vast majority of enrollees previously had health insurance," McCarthy and McMorris Rodgers note. "Just because more Americans have been forced into Obamacare does not make the law a success."

The GOP leaders outline how the administration has never revealed how many Americans have paid for coverage through Obamacare; has never revealed how many of those who do have new coverage were previously uninsured; has never revealed how many new Medicaid enrollees were eligible for coverage even without Obamacare's expansion; and has never revealed how many of those who were thrown out of their coverage by Obamacare have now gotten new coverage, and at what cost.

In addition to those numbers — either withheld or unknown — the administration has not offered details on the number of Americans whose premiums have increased, whose deductibles have increased, and who now face newly-restricted, narrower choices for care. And then there is the effect that Obamacare is already having on employer-based insurance. And its effect on small businesses. And the consequences of its various tax increases. And its effect on the working hours of millions of Americans. And its effect on workforce participation. And more.

"President Obama declared that, 'the debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,'" McCarthy and McMorris Rodgers write. "But this is hardly the end of the story." It's certainly true that Republicans have not succeeded in learning the inner workings — or even some of the basic — about Obamacare. But GOP leaders want the administration to know the effort will go on.

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