Washington Update

House Committee Investigates Health Exchange Implementation Glitches

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing titled, “PPACA Implementation Failures: Didn’t Know or Didn’t Disclose?” on October 24 to investigate problems with the rollout of the federally run Health Insurance Marketplace website, www.healthcare.gov.

In a press release, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) stated, “Despite the widespread belief that the administration was not ready for the health law’s October 1 launch, top officials and lead IT contractors looked us in the eye and assured us all systems were a go,” adding, “The American people deserve to know what caused this mess.”

The committee requested that U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the heads of two corporations contracted to help develop the government-run site appear to answer questions about how the site was tested prior to its launch and what those tests revealed. Secretary Sebelius declined to attend, provoking condemnation from committee members who pressed her to reconsider in a letter sent October 17.

According to Reuters, House Republicans plan to use a series of oversight hearings to investigate other aspects of “Obamacare” as the Affordable Care Act is frequently called.
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