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Ways and Means Hearing Discusses Health Insurance Exchange Implementation

September 14, 2012—The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Sept. 12 held a hearing that focused on the implementation status of health insurance exchanges and related regulations from the authorizing agencies, particularly the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), who chaired the hearing, opened by criticizing the administration for implementing parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) without a formal rulemaking process. He added that the deadline for states to notify HHS with their declaration of intent to operate a state exchange is Nov. 16, and “[d]espite this deadline being two months away, the Obama Administration has failed to finalize the required details.”

Democrats on the panel disagreed with Rep. Johnson’s concerns, pointing out that the administration has released several bulletins and guidelines in an effort to give states flexibility in designing an exchange that works for their state.

Michael Consedine, commissioner, Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, said “the lack of detailed information for HHS has put Pennsylvania, and many other states, in a very difficult decision…and they need final rules and guidance on Exchanges in order for [them] to determine what course is best for [their] state.”

Heather Howard, director, State Health Reform Assistance Network, and lecturer in public affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University,  agreed that there is work to be done; however, “many states are actively working and are on schedule to stand up exchanges that will provide a competitive marketplace for individuals and small businesses to shop for affordable coverage just over a year from now.”

Demonstrating that some states are moving forward despite the uncertainty, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) added that in his state, “all systems are go” for implementing a state-run exchange. He also added “If you’re looking for excuses for not implementing, you can find them. If you want to implement, you can do it.”


Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
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Telephone: 202-903-0806