US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Alexander: “Disappointing” that Senate Democrats Blocked Exchange Transparency Bill

Says “we will keep trying, the American people deserve answers”

Tuesday, October 29, 2013Liz Wolgemuth (202) 224-8584

 

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“Before the Internet, RCA knew how many records Elvis was selling every day. Before the Internet, Ford knew how many cars they were selling every day. Before the Internet, McDonald’s could tell you how many hamburgers it had sold each day. Yet the Obama administration cannot tell us how many Americans have tried to sign up for Obamacare.” – Lamar Alexande 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 – After Senate Democrats this evening blocked his bill requiring weekly reports on the Obamacare exchanges, the senior Republican on the Senate health committee vowed, “we will keep trying, the American people deserve answers.”

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “Before the Internet, RCA knew how many records Elvis was selling every day. Before the Internet, Ford knew how many cars they were selling every day. Before the Internet, McDonald’s could tell you how many hamburgers it had sold each day. Yet the Obama administration cannot tell us how many Americans have tried to sign up for Obamacare. We ought to know that, taxpayers ought to know it, and we'll keep trying other ways to get the information the American people deserve to have.”

Alexander this evening attempted to pass his legislation requiring weekly reports on the Obamacare exchanges, but Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) objected.

The six-page Exchange Information Disclosure Act would require the Obama administration to provide weekly reports to Congress, states, and the public about the 36 federally run exchanges, including easily tracked data such as the number of individuals who have visited the site and the number who have successfully enrolled, their zip code, and the level of coverage they’ve obtained. The reports would also be required to contain information on the department’s efforts to resolve the site’s widespread technical problems.

Alexander said: “Before the Internet, RCA knew how many records Elvis was selling every day. Before the Internet, Ford knew how many cars they were selling every day. Before the Internet, McDonald’s could tell you how many hamburgers it had sold each day. Yet the Obama administration cannot tell us how many Americans have tried to sign up for Obamacare.” 

He added: “With Wikileaks and Edward Snowden spilling our beans every day, what’s happening on the Obamacare exchanges is the only secret left in Washington. The National Security Agency should learn some lessons from Secretary Sebelius.”

“We shouldn't have to rely on anonymous sources to get basic information about what's happening with the Obamacare exchanges,” Alexander said. “Yesterday I introduced legislation to require the administration to tell Congress and the American people how many people have tried to sign up, how many did sign up, what level of insurance did they buy, in what zip code do they live and what is the administration doing to fix the problems. This isn't complicated information. In the Internet age, the administration ought to be able to provide this information every day. They should be able to provide it really every minute. We shouldn't have to pass a law to find these things out.”

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