The White House may be claiming a victory on Obamacare, with early returns showing the administration may reach its projected 7 million enrollees, but many unanswered questions remain, says Republican National Committee press secretary Kirsten Kukowski.
"They think it's a success because they are nearing that promised 7 million signup mark, but we don't know who those 7 million people are. We don't know how many of them have actually even paid for their policies, and we don't know how many of them have actually started using the policies and how that looks," she told Newsmax TV's John Bachman, J.D. Hayworth, and Nick Tate on "America's Forum" on Monday.
"So it's really premature to talk about success, and they had purposefully set that bar at that 7 million when actually how many people, how many uninsured Americans there are, is much, much higher than that. So, it's a little premature."
Kukowski said the RNC would push for hard facts.
"We want to know how many people were actually uninsured in the beginning, who they're counting now, but we also need to know the demographics. How many young people? How many Latino, Hispanic-Americans, etc.?
"We need to know what the makeup of those people are, but we also want to have people come to GOP.com, tell us what you're experiencing with Obamacare, because some of this is going to be anecdotal. We don't know success until we start hearing from people about what their experiences are with Obamacare."
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Asked about Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso's assertion that the administration is "cooking the books" on enrollment numbers, Kukowski replied, "Well, he's probably onto something."
"It doesn't all add up," she said, "and that's why [RNC] Chairman Reince Priebus' statement here this morning on the end of the open enrollment period was simply questions, because we don't know and it does appear that the White House might be double-counting people.
"The whole purpose of this was to get uninsured Americans healthcare, and that is a very simple question that they just have not answered, and so it does appear to us, absent of answers, that they might be 'cooking the books,' as the senator has said."
As for the GOP's own healthcare plans, Kukowski said, "Well, there are a lot of discussions that are being had internally on the Hill" about alternatives to Obamacare.
Kukowski said Priebus had an opinion piece in USA Today last week that noted "time and time again the Democrats like to say the Republicans don't have solutions on healthcare. Well, that's a little bit of revisionist history."
"If you think back to how we got to Obamacare in the first place, they rammed it down everybody's throats," she said.
Responding to suggestions that many Republicans are frustrated because the alternatives are unclear, Kukowski said, "Right here, right now, from a Republican National Committee standpoint, we kind of see it as our job to make sure that we go out there ahead of these November elections."
"[It's a] very important election, to take back the Senate and put it into Republican control so that we can have the House and the Senate and that puts a little more pressure on President Obama and what he's able to do..."
Kukowski said the RNC must take "two separate lanes" on the way to the November midterms.
"We need to talk about those broad pictures, how the Republican Party can change healthcare for the better and move on from where we are," she said.
And "we see ourselves as kind of being those messengers to tell voters exactly what they're getting themselves into as they go to the polls in November," she said.
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