Exchange Information Disclosure Actby Former Representative Henry A. Waxman
Posted on 2014-01-16
WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker and my colleagues, supporters of this
legislation claim that it is simply an effort to get more information
about how the Affordable Care Act is being implemented, but it is not
really that. It is an effort to slow down the implementation of the new
law by drowning the Department of Health and Human Services in red
They want enrollment information, but this week, they got enrollment information from the administration. That enrollment information showed that 2.2 million Americans have signed up for private coverage. They want demographic information. HHS has given them demographic information. HHS is going to release all of the information that they are asking for every month, but the Republicans say, ``Oh, that is not good enough. We want it every week.'' They want more than what otherwise might be available to them because they want to know some things that I can't understand why they would want to know them.
They want to know the ZIP Codes of everybody who has signed up. They want to know what the details are of a chat between somebody who is asking a question on the Web site and what answers he got. I can't understand why that is important. They want to know what transpired in the call centers. In other words, they want to know what somebody said in a call center. Is it their business to know what questions are asked in a call center? They want a list of the people who are the adjusters and the brokers. There are thousands of them around the country, so there is no purpose to knowing that. They are not accredited by the government. If they are by the States, it is up to each State. They could ask each State that information.
Let me put this in perspective.
If anybody had a bill asking the private sector to come up with reports every single week on information that they could wait a couple of more weeks to get, it would be looked at as just straight harassment, government red tape, bureaucracy that is intruding into the business for no purpose. That is what this bill is all about. They want to intrude in a government agency. I guess, if they have a bureaucratic intrusion and the harassment of a government agency, it is okay, but if it were to happen to a private sector business, it would be inappropriate. If we asked polluters this information, you could get the information. If you asked them to give you the information every week, why do you need it every week? I ask the Republicans: Why do they need this every week if they are going to get it every month? [[Page H1222]] It is obvious. This law is working, and they don't want to come again to the floor and ask for its repeal because people have insurance. Millions of people now have insurance. If they want to repeal the law, they are going to take that insurance away from them.
They want to continue to say: What are they hiding? What are they hiding that they are not giving you on a weekly schedule but that they are giving you on a monthly schedule? Absolutely nothing that is significant. The enrollment reports we already have indicate that over 6 million people have signed up for coverage since October 1. The Web site can handle 80,000 simultaneous users, and it has been stable even though there was a surge of enrollment in late December.
The law is working. Republicans don't want to hear these facts. They don't want to know about it, but they think they should get everybody at HHS--maybe even have them hire more people--to report to them every week so they can still not recognize that there is good news in what is actually happening.
This is a goofy bill--it is absolutely unnecessary--and I urge my colleagues to vote against it.