The Tennessean: Sen. Alexander to push for weekly health exchange updates

Posted on October 22, 2013

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander announced Tuesday that he will introduce a bill calling for the government to release more timely information about the federal health care exchange.

Senator Alexander plans to introduce the bill next week when the Senate is back in session.

The federal government has said that it will release official exchange enrollment numbers in November. But Senator Alexander’s proposed bill calls for more information. Specifically, he will ask for weekly data on enrollment numbers, information about glitches on the exchange’s website and reports on people who are supposed to help Americans sign up for health care, otherwise known as “navigators.”

“As millions of Americans have sat frustrated at their computers and on their phones, wasting hours trying to fulfill the Obamacare mandate and enroll in the exchanges, the administration has refused to provide critical information about what’s going wrong, or has dribbled out news through anonymous statements to reporters,” Senator Alexander said in a statement. “This bill will require the administration to be honest and transparent with the public, governors overseeing state exchanges, state consumer protection regulators, and decisionmakers in Congress.”

Senator Alexander announced his proposed bill one day after President Obama addressed the nation regarding issues with the website.

"Here's the bottom line,” the President said Monday, from the White House’s Rose Garden, “The product, the health insurance, is good. The prices are good. It is a good deal. People don't just want it, they're showing up to buy it. No one is madder than me about the fact that the website isn't working as well as it should, which means, it's going to get fixed.”

Senator Alexander has historically opposed health care reform, having voted 23 times to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act. In September, he and several Republican colleagues called for the government to perform an economic impact assessment of the Affordable Care Act's tax on businesses. The committee requested a response by October 18. At this point, representatives from the committee did not confirm whether the government has responded.