Lawmakers Seek More Details on Timeline for ACA Implementation
During meetings with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this week, Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee urged the Obama administration to provide more details about its Affordable Care Act implementation schedule, The Hill's "Healthwatch," reports.
Democrats were interested in status updates on some of the law's provisions that they favor and accelerating their implementation, according to "Healthwatch." Most of the senators declined to comment on specific topics they discussed, but several of them signaled that they were disappointed with the outcome of the meetings.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said Sebelius still could not offer a progress report on the law's Basic Health Program, which she had also requested from a top CMS official during a Finance Committee hearing in February (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/14).
At the hearing with Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight Director Gary Cohen, Cantwell criticized the administration for delaying implementation of the Basic Health Program, which allows states to provide cost-efficient coverage outside of Medicaid and the ACA's health insurance exchanges (California Healthline, 2/15).
Meanwhile, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) -- the committee's ranking member -- said that while Sebelius was open to answering his questions about the ACA's implementation, she was unable to relieve his concerns about some of the law's policies ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/14).
House Panel Seeks Meeting With Sebelius
Meanwhile, Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) on Thursday said the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health is trying to arrange a meeting with Sebelius to ask her about progress on the ACA's implementation schedule, CQ HealthBeat reports.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the panel's chair, confirmed that discussions are under way to schedule opportunities "to consult with Secretary Sebelius as often as possible."
Speaking after an event organized by America's Health Insurance Plans, Kind noted that there is mounting concern that implementation of the health insurance exchanges under the ACA could be difficult and confusing, adding, "This isn't going to be seamless, and it isn't going to be error-free" (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 3/14).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.