HHS Places New Office of Insurance Oversight Under Authority of CMS
Just months after creating the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, HHS announced that it will move the agency under the purview of CMS in order to become more efficient as provisions of the federal health reform law take effect, NPR's "Shots" reports (Weaver, "Shots," NPR, 1/5).
The office had been run by the Office of the Secretary of HHS.
Details of the Office
OCIIO was created to:
- Decide how certain provisions of health reform would be implemented;
- Give consumers information to compare health plans;
- Monitor health plan rate hikes; and
- Oversee the creation of state insurance exchanges.
Under CMS, OCIIO will be led by CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, Medicare's deputy administrator (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 1/5).
Jay Angoff, who had been in charge of OCIIO since April, will become HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' senior adviser ("Shots," NPR, 1/5).
The agency's name will change to the Center of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CQ HealthBeat, 1/5).
Reasons Behind Change
The reorganization could be part of the Obama administration's efforts to protect the health reform law against GOP efforts to repeal it ("Shots," NPR 1/5).
Dan Mendelson, a top health budget official in the Clinton administration, said, "It's easier to target and defund a small agency like OCIIO. ... By contrast, CMS has many core functions that are vital to the functioning of Medicare, so is guaranteed it will be getting some funding. ... Also it is easier for HHS to transfer funds within an operating division than across" (CQ HealthBeat, 1/5).
According to health care consultant and former Republican aide Alec Vachon, the reorganization is simply "another defensive move by an administration anticipating tough challenges from a Republican House" (Weaver/McGinley, Kaiser Health News, 1/5).
Sebelius also announced that she is putting the Administration on Aging in charge of implementing provisions of the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act that are intended to help people pay for long-term care services (CQ HealthBeat, 1/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.