House committee chair: Sebelius lied when she said she doesn’t know how many ObamaCare enrollees paid their first premiums
Dave Camp uses the more delicate term “evasive and perhaps misleading” in his letter to her but it’s clear enough what he means. This wouldn’t be the first time the White House has been, ahem, evasive and perhaps misleading when it comes to enrollment data either. Sebelius and Jay Carney spent last October hemming and hawing over why they hadn’t released any early enrollment figures yet, insisting it’d be premature to do so and that numbers would be reported at regular intervals. Turns out they had a daily dashboard on Healthcare.gov that was keeping them updated all along. The big take on day one, as you might recall, was … six enrollments. Nationwide.
This new lie is more fun than the earlier one, though, just for the sheer balls required to muster the spin they’re using to deflect it.
Camp (R-Mich.) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) say they have uncovered “new evidence” that “strongly suggests that the administration knows who has enrolled and paid their first month’s premium.”
The congressmen pointed to an online regulations portal run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that says insurers are required to inform the agency of “the full enrollment and payment profile” for consumers on a monthly basis…
“As we have said previously, information about who has paid his or her premium is collected by individual issuers and is not reported to CMS directly by enrollees,” HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement.
“Until the automated payment and reporting system is completed and fully tested, and CMS is able to access individual enrollment and payment information from individual 834 forms, the payment information that CMS receives from insurers is neither final nor complete,” she added. “When we have accurate and reliable data regarding premium payments, we will make that information available.”
In other words, insurers are required to report to CMS every month how many people have paid. The data exists and is right at CMS’s fingertips; even if it’s incomplete, the rate of payment among insurers who have already reported will give us some sense of the rate of payment nationally.
But CMS, which built a website that didn’t work for two months and continues to have back-end problems to this day, doesn’t feel comfortable trusting outside entities. They’d prefer to use their own data, which … doesn’t exist yet because the website’s payment system still hasn’t been built. And they also want to be sure the numbers they give the public are “final” and “complete,” even though the whole reason people keep bugging them for payment data is that CMS’s own highly touted monthly enrollment figures aren’t remotely “final” or “complete” without it. Remember, if you missed the deadline to pay your first premium, your enrollment will be canceled; if it’s true, as anecdotal evidence suggests, that fully 20 percent of new enrollees failed to pay on time, that means HHS’s latest enrollment number of 5+ million as of March 1st could be off by a million people. If they were sincerely worried about misleading the public with incomplete figures, they’d refuse to release enrollment data at all until they knew for sure how many people were, or would be, bounced from the rolls on nonpayment grounds. As it is, they’re more than happy to release crap numbers which they know are artificially inflated in the name of doing what they can to help Democrats facing reelection this fall.
While we’re on the subject, via the Free Beacon, here’s another brazen lie Sebelius told Congress a few weeks ago. Exit question via Dan McLaughlin: At what point is a special prosecutor finally on the table here?