O-Care stonewall: Media stymied
By Patrick Mortiere and Bob Cusack
A slew of media organizations have petitioned the government to release ObamaCare data that the White House has refused to make public. [WATCH VIDEO]
CNN, ABC, MSNBC and others have filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking information on the beleaguered healthcare.gov website. They have also asked for government documents revealing how many people have enrolled in the new healthcare exchanges.
Journalists have repeatedly pressed the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the enrollment data, but the administration says it won’t do so until mid-November.
Republicans have noted that President Obama has dropped hints he is aware of the enrollment figures. In a recent speech, Obama said “thousands” have signed up. He later indicated that signing up has gotten easier since the website’s launch.
Many of the media’s FOIA requests are similar, focusing on the website and/or the enrollment data.
For example, MSNBC asks for the “up to date number of people who have enrolled in the government’s healthcare exchanges set up by the [Affordable Care Act.]”
ABC News seeks “the documents detailing and describing the actual and potential costs associated with addressing flaws in [the healthcare.gov] website from Oct. 1, 2013 to Oct. 21, 2013.”
Some media outlets have asked for internal e-mail communications between key administration officials on the implementation of ObamaCare.
It’s unlikely that these FOIA requests will be granted any time soon. Government processing of FOIA requests can take weeks, months or years. However, HHS moves quicker than other government entities on FOIA.
Still, the HHS FOIA office won’t be releasing enrollment data before mid November, especially after senior administration officials have suggested they need to first vet the data to ensure its accuracy.
Other media organizations who have filed FOIA requests on ObamaCare include the Huffington Post, Reuters, Politico, National Journal and Time magazine.
The Hill obtained the HHS FOIA log through a FOIA request..Follow enlightenedlbrl