Watchdog: Accountability

Judicial Watch sues HHS for documents on faulty Obamacare '834' insurance forms

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A nonprofit watchdog group is suing the Department of Health and Human Services for information about the federal health care website's flawed "834" forms after HHS ignored a Freedom of Information Act request.

Judicial Watch filed a Dec. 20 FOIA request for documents related to the forms, which send information from healthcare.gov to insurance companies so they can enroll consumers in the proper plan and bill them for services.

As many as one-third of the forms produced by the website since its Oct. 1 launch date were missing, inaccurate or incomplete, Judicial Watch said in a Monday press release, citing a December story by the Washington Post. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the HHS agency that runs Obamacare, disputed the number, but didn't disclose how many total consumers were affected by the problem, according to Judicial Watch.

HHS acknowledged the group's FOIA on Jan. 17, but has not responded to the request since. By law, agencies have 20 days to respond, deny or request more time to respond to a request.

Judicial Watch requested documents dating from April 1, 2013, about testing the back end systems of the website that generate the forms; reports of instances or potential instances of inaccuracy and missing information in the forms; and communications about establishing a mechanism for reporting and fixing problems with the form.

“It speaks volumes that the Obama administration doesn’t want to give us information about whether those who want insurance were actually able to get it through Healthcare.gov,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement.

“Given HHS's unlawful cover up, it is fair to conclude that President Obama's touted figure of eight million Obamacare enrollments is a knowing fiction. With all its illegal stonewalling of basic information, we frankly can't believe much of anything this administration has to say on what Obamacare is doing to the American people.”

Editor's note: Judicial Watch is representing the Washington Examiner in the newspaper's federal lawsuit seeking access to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau records under FOIA.

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