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Ways and Means Republicans Request Hearing on Health Care Bill Implementation, Missed Deadlines by HHS

June 16, 2010

Washington, DC – Ways and Means Republicans today sent a letter to Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI) requesting a hearing with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the implementation of the new health care law and to get answers to why HHS has missed numerous statutorily-mandated deadlines.

Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI) said, “While the Administration is focused on an aggressive, taxpayer-funded public relations campaign to combat the health care bill’s increasingly high disapproval numbers, they have missed numerous implementation deadlines. It is important that we carry out our Congressional oversight responsibilities.”

Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Wally Herger (R-CA) added, “Given the Administration’s track record, I can’t say that I’m surprised that Obamacare is already missing deadlines.  This is merely the first in what will be a long list of failures in government-run health care.  The new law is seriously flawed, and the American people deserve a full accounting of the Administration’s actions in carrying it out.”

In the letter, the Republicans noted four specific missed deadlines.

  • Complying with an important transparency in government provision requiring HHS to publish a list of its new authorities (Sec. 1552; required by April 22, 2010);
  • Proposing methodology and criteria for designating what qualifies as “medically underserved populations” and “health professions shortage areas” (Sec. 5602; required by May 7, 2010);
  • Establishing a government task force to develop a strategy to improve the government health care programs in Alaska (Sec. 5104; required by May 7, 2010); and
  • Establishing an advisory committee to assist in creating and conducting an advertising campaign to educate young women about breast cancer and breast health, including early detection (Sec. 10413; required by May 22, 2010).

They went on to state, “These are some of the most basic provisions of this law.  HHS’ failure to meet these deadlines does not bode well for implementing the more complicated provisions, including  the more than one-half trillion in Medicare cuts, the establishment of  the government-mandated benefits package that most Americans will need to purchase or pay a new tax, and determining the level of health coverage employers must provide their workers to avoid a large tax penalty and which non-partisan analysts agree will result in millions of Americans losing their current health coverage.”

The full letter can be read here.

NOTE: Ways and Means Republicans have made two previous unacknowledged requests for hearings on the new health law. On May 20, 2010 Committee Republicans asked Chairman Levin to hold a hearing on the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s analysis that federal health spending could increase by an additional $115 billion or more over 10 years to implement the Democrats’ new health care law.  On April 28, 2010 Committee Republicans requested Chairman Levin hold a hearing on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ analysis which found that the law will increase national health care spending by over $300 billion, includes over one-half trillion in cuts to Medicare that could jeopardize seniors’ access to care, and will result in 14 million Americans losing their employer-provided health benefits.