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GOP: Show us the Obamacare numbers

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Obamacare,Republican Party,Health Care,Medicare and Medicaid,Entitlements,HHS,FOIA

The Republican National Committee is calling the president's health care bluff, demanding that the administration release the Obamacare enrollment numbers to prove that the system is working despite admitted glitches.

In a bold challenge, the RNC sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which runs the system, seeking the enrollment numbers that the administration has so far refused to release.

“The administration insists the website isn’t a failure but instead just experiencing a few ‘glitches’ and that it is both popular and functional,” said the RNC in a statement provided to Secrets. “There’s only one way to prove it: releasing the enrollment numbers. Otherwise, taxpayers have no way to know what they’re getting for the site’s price tag of roughly half a billion dollars.”

The FOIA requests:

— “Any and all data recording each successful purchase of a health insurance policy ... on any of the Affordable Care Act exchanges administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ...”

— “Any and all documents or communications, including but not limited to relevant emails and letters, regarding the collection of successful enrollee data on or after October 1, 2013 ..."

The administration is concerned about the problems Americans have faced logging into the Obamacare system and the president today will call for immediate fixes. The White House and others in the administration predicted that there would be initial problems with the new system, but the numbers of errors has shocked many, including Democrats.

In issuing the FOIA, Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus said, “It's important for Americans to see these numbers because they illustrate just how terrible the system is and how poorly designed the law was.”

As the FOIA was issued, the administration began making changes Monday morning, including new features on the homepage.

Health and Human Services Department spokesperson Joanne Peters said, "As part of our ongoing efforts to make improvements every day, new content is being featured on Healthcare.gov in response to user feedback. It's now easier than ever to preview plan information, access a downloadable application form and find in-person help in local communities. We're giving users more information to make the decision that's right for them about how to apply and enroll in affordable health coverage."

Changes include:

— Putting out word that Americans can apply by phone, to avoid the online woes.

— Premiums will be more clearly shown on the Obamacare web page.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.