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October 29. 2013 2:34PM

Ayotte trying again to obtain NH 'Obamacare' info from federal HHS

Sen. Kelly Ayotte tried again Tuesday to obtain New Hampshire enrollment figures for the Affordable Care Act from the federal Health and Human Services Department.

The New Hampshire Republican initially asked HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Oct. 21 for figures on how many Granite Staters have tried to "access and create an account" through the federal exchange. She also asked how many people in New Hampshire "were actually able to sign up for a health insurance plan" through the exchange since Oct. 1.

She asked Sebelius how long it will take for the exchange's technical problems to be fixed.

Ayotte asked for answers by Monday, Oct. 28, but received none.

In a follow-up letter sent Tuesday, Ayotte wrote that she has not yet "received a response to my letter or to any of my questions.

"I am concerned by the administration's continued refusal to answer specific questions regarding the exchange rollout, as well as its refusal to provide enrollment figures," she wrote.

She asked for answers by next Tuesday, Nov. 5.

"The American people and Congress deserve to hear directly from those responsible for implementing the President's health care law," she wrote.

Since New Hampshire has no state-specific exchange, Granite Staters are forced to sign up through the federal exchange.
Ayotte's second request to HHS was made as Marilyn Tavenner, director of HHS's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, refused to tell a House committee how many people nationally have enrolled in the health care program, while apologizing for its web site's failures.


"We made the decision that we were not releasing the numbers until mid-November," she said.
 
Also Tuesday, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen picked up support from a tenth Senate Democrat for her request to the Obama administration to extend the ACA open enrollment period and penalties for not signing up for insurance by March 31.

Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon said he was “fully supportive.”


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