Nonprofit watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services to obtain the precise enrollment numbers for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
Judicial Watch is demanding that HHS execute a Freedom of Information Act request it filed in October seeking "any and all records" relating to the number of people who purchased health insurance through healthcare.gov between Oct. 1 and Oct. 4 of this year. The lawsuit was filed Nov. 25 in U.S. District Court in Washington.
The watchdog group contends that the administration may be inflating the enrollee numbers it has released to date. It cites news reports that the administration has adjusted — and broadened — its definition of enrollment by including people who have signed up but hadn't paid. It also said the administration may be obscuring that those who have enrolled are skewing older than expected, meaning Obamacare's costs are likely to increase.
"To be blunt, we think the Obama administration is telling more lies about these Obamacare enrollment numbers. And sure enough, the administration refuses to turn over one document to us about these basic numbers about the healthcare.gov website," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement. "The fact that we have to now go to federal court to get simple answers about how many people signed up for Obamacare shows that this administration has utter contempt for the people’s right to know."
A source at HHS declined to directly comment on the lawsuit but said: "[W]e expect that enrollment will increase with the technical improvements we’ve made. ... At the same time, it’s important to remember we are just two months into a six-month open enrollment period that we expect will ramp up over time as we’ve seen in other implementation efforts, such as Massachusetts and Medicare Part D."