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RNC Files Freedom of Information Act Request to Seek Number of ObamaCare Enrollees

I was urging this on Twitter during the first week of the website’s launch.  (Of course, thanks to the idiotic strategy of “The Shutdown’ overshadowing the website’s problem, it was lost in storm of Ted Cruz’s ego…)

Anyway, the Weekly Standard is reporting the RNC is requesting under FOIA the current number of actual Americans have enrolled for ObamaCare from HHS; a number which remains a mystery.  In recent days, HHS has tried to cover this figure by pointing out the number of “applications” — those who filled out log-in information at the site, but didn’t actually buy a policy — with a promise release “monthly data for October” by mid-November.

Any tech-head can tell you how many people have been on their website, or if its a commercial site like Target.com or Amazon.com, how many sales they’ve had in the last hour or a given minute.  The fact that HHS is hiding this information, probably helps highlight how lousy HeathCare.gov actually was designed.

WASHINGTON – Today the Republican National Committee (RNC) sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting information on the number of Americans who have enrolled in health insurance through the ObamaCare websitehealthcare.gov. In the more than two weeks since the website went live, the Obama administration has refused to release any such numbers.

The administration insists the website isn’t a failure but instead just experiencing a few “glitches” and that it is both popular and functional. 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.

In the interest of transparency and accountability, the RNC FOIA request asks for two things:

  • “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…”

“Kathleen Sebelius and the Obama administration spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on this website, but Americans trying to use it have gotten little more than error messages and crashing web pages,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “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. The administration isn’t living up to its promises, and they must be held accountable.

“Really it’s telling that they don’t want to give out any numbers. This is an administration that never misses an opportunity to brag; they’ve previously leaked sensitive national security information to burnish their image. So what are they hiding?

Sadly, answering FOIA’s has not been a priority of this administration.  For all their claims of transparency, they have hidden behind late requests — or even worst form letters saying they’ve received your FOIA request and are working on it when they actually aren’t — lost requests and other tricks.

My guess, the RNC gets this information the same day the Associated Press does — in mid-November — and about five minutes before the AP goes to press.

UPDATE: On “Morning Joe” this morning, the AP’s Julie Pace, their chief White House correspondent, speculated that “Of course these guys have this number!” and that they don’t want to give it up.

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