Republicans bemoan lack of O-Care SHOP data

Republicans are slamming the Obama administration for failing to release enrollment data for ObamaCare's small-business health insurance exchanges despite repeated inquiries.

An official from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said again Thursday that she could not provide the numbers during a House Small Business subcommittee hearing.

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The comment drew a rebuke from GOP members of the panel, including Chairman Chris Collins (R-N.Y.).

"It's shocking that, after the billions of taxpayer money that has been spent on ObamaCare, there was no process created for recording and measuring the Small Business Health Options Program [SHOP] enrollment data on a regular basis," he said in a statement.

Though it has published figures for ObamaCare's individual exchanges, the administration has not disclosed sign-up numbers for SHOP, which are likely quite low around the country.

"We are not the source of information" on SHOP participation, Mayra Alvarez, director of the state exchange group at the CMS's Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said Thursday.

Alvarez told lawmakers that the government does not have the data because small businesses signed up for the program offline in its first year, working directly with insurers or brokers. The situation varies by state, she said.

"We are working with [plan] issuers to get that information, and as soon as we get it, we will share it with you and with the American public," Alvarez said.

The hearing was held by the Small Business subcommittee on health.