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Barrasso Won’t Clarify Book-Cooking Comment About Health Care Act

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)
Astrid Riecken/Getty Images

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso’s office on Monday declined to clarify his comments on “Fox News Sunday” that the Obama administration was “cooking the books” about Affordable Care Act numbers.

In an interview with Chris Wallace on Sunday, Wyoming’s junior Republican senator disputed the administration’s assertions that six million people had  already signed up by this past weekend.

Wallace added the public doesn’t know how many people have paid for coverage, how many young people have enrolled, or how many people have signed up who were previously uninsured. Given these issues, Wallace asked Barrasso what the six million figure actually means.

“I don’t think it means anything, Chris,” says Barrasso, who has been an orthopedic surgeon in Casper. “They are cooking the books on this.”

But Barrasso didn’t offer any numbers of his own.

When asked Monday what evidence he had to support the cooking-books comment, Barrasso’s press secretary Laura Mengelkamp responded in an email: “The White House needs to confirm how many people have paid — and how many people had their insurance canceled by the health care law and had to buy new insurance. Senator Barrasso is confident those numbers will not reach over 6 million.”

The administration repeatedly had set today as the deadline for people to enroll for health insurance in the exchanges offered on the website to avoid a tax penalty in 2015. Late last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it would extend the deadline for those who have tried to sign up but were delayed by computer glitches with the website.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) also appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and agreed the administration needs to be more transparent.

But King still defended the Affordable Care Act, and cited a non-government source saying as of Sunday morning there had been more than 6.5 million enrolled and more young people were enrolling.

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