AHCJ has called on the federal government to release data about enrollment in the federal health insurance exchange as soon as the numbers are tabulated.
In a letter sent Thursday to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, and Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, AHCJ president Karl Stark asks for daily or weekly updates, rather than the monthly updates the administration has planned.
“This information is critically important, not only for journalists but for professionals involved in ACA-related work and any American who wants to buy health insurance,” Stark wrote.
The letter notes that states such as Washington and Maryland have provided regular updates, despite technical difficulties launching their exchanges. Connecticut is reporting its enrollment numbers daily.
“We recognize that the federal on-line enrollment system had a rocky launch,” Stark’s letter says, “but this should not stand in the way of public transparency in all aspects of Affordable Care Act implementation.”
The letter signals the association’s intention, through its Right to Know Committee, to monitor the release of information and advocate for maximum transparency as the federal health care overhaul moves forward.
“The opening of the health insurance exchanges marks a critical moment in the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act,” said Irene Wielawski, chair of AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee. “The public has a right to know – in detail – how it’s going. Information is especially important for a law that won’t succeed without engaging the public.”
Wielawski urged AHCJ members to let her know about any difficulties getting information from the state or federal exchanges. “We will fight for access to everything the public ought to know about health care reform,” Wielawski said. “But we depend on members to keep us informed about their experiences.”