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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

GOP lawmakers believe over $1 billion spent to promote Obamacare -- By Susan Crabtree, The Washington Examiner

FILE - This March 12, 2014 file photo shows Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington. Three million Americans signed up for Medicaid under President Barack Obama's new health care law as of the end of February, the administration said Friday, offering its first full accounting of how much the safety-net health program has grown since implementation of the law. In a blog, Sebelius said: "The increase in Medicaid enrollments across the country is encouraging, but more work is left to do to ensure that the millions of uninsured Americans eligible for these programs gain coverage". (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)Republicans are demanding greater transparency on how much the administration spent to promote and implement Obamacare -- and hitting back at President Obama's claim that he “didn't make a hard sell.”

The new effort comes after Obama's claim that the administration met its goal of enrolling more than 7 million people without spending billions.

“We didn't make a hard sell,” Obama said. “We didn't have billions of dollars to spend on commercials like our critics did.”

But both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill estimate the administration has spent roughly $4 to 5 billion to get the Affordable Care Act running, including hundreds of millions to build and repair healthcare.gov.

Some Republicans point to outside estimates suggesting the administration spent more than $1 billion alone on promotional efforts -- including outreach, marketing and advertising -- to boost enrollment in the federal exchanges.

Critics say the administration is refusing to detail how money is being spent.

“Taxpayers deserve answers, yet the Obama administration continues to evade questions about the true cost of implementing the Affordable Care Act,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., the ranking member on the panel that funds the Health and Human Services Department.

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