Watchdog: Accountability

Judicial Watch sues HHS for documents on healthcare.gov security, hardship exemption

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Watchdog group Judicial Watch has sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for documents about Obamacare and healthcare.gov, after HHS denied two Freedom of Information Act requests the group filed for the documents.

“This administration is in full stonewall mode on Obamacare,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement last week. “This president thinks he can change, ignore, and rewrite Obamacare with zero accountability. And the illegal secrecy about the threats to the privacy of Americans who use the Obamacare website ought to make taxpayers very nervous about sharing personal data through healthcare.gov. ”

The group is seeking records related to security problems with healthcare.gov, the web portal for Obamacare that has put applicants' personal information at risk. Congressional testimony has revealed little was done by the administration to test the system and address known security risks before the website's botched rollout in October.

The group is also seeking communications related to the administration's Dec. 19 decision to establish a "hardship exemption" for people whose insurance plans were cancelled, allowing them to purchase a plan outside the Obamacare exchange if the exchange plans are too expensive for them.

"Most observers agree that the 'hardship exemptions' may be the most significant unilateral change that the Obama administration has yet made in the controversial government program," Judicial Watch said in a press release.

"The changes would grant broad exemptions to anyone who 'believes' that Obamacare coverage options 'are unaffordable,' essentially opening the door to exemptions for almost anyone who finds the law unpalatable."

Judicial Watch originally requested the documents in two December FOIA requests, which the group says HHS illegally ignored.

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