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House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) today announced that the Committee will hold a hearing on the problems Americans are experiencing with the Obama Administration’s launch of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Committee will hear testimony from Marilyn Tavenner, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). CMS is the federal agency that oversees the operation of the Exchanges through the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO). The hearing will take place on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 10:00 A.M.
In view of the limited time available to hear from the witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from the invited witness only. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.
President Obama has acknowledged that the October 1 launch of the health care Exchanges was unacceptable. Americans have been unable to create accounts, and individuals continue to receive repeated error messages and inaccurate information from www.healthcare.gov. According to Consumer Reports, only 1 in 35 individuals were able to create an account on www.healthcare.gov. Recently, the Administration announced a “tech surge’ of the “best and the brightest” to fix the problems, but experts have warned the “online system required such extensive repairs that it might not operate smoothly until after the December 15 deadline for people to sign up for coverage starting in January.”
The Ways and Means Committee has conducted extensive oversight of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to ensure that the Administration is implementing the law as promised. Despite significant reports about the difficulties they were encountering in building the Exchanges, Administration witnesses dismissed such reports. Instead, they repeatedly assured the Committee that warnings from nonpartisan independent auditors were wrong, including the Government Accountability Office, which reported the Administration was behind schedule and at risk of experiencing enrollment problems.
The significant and ongoing problems with the launch of the Exchanges further exacerbates the challenges facing American families. Individuals are unable to create accounts, navigate the website and receive accurate information about cost and choices, while insurers are receiving inaccurate enrollment data. Despite these ongoing malfunctions, millions of Americans will be forced to deal with these challenges as they attempt to either comply with the individual mandate to buy coverage or pay a tax.
This hearing will examine the status of efforts by CMS, HHS and the Obama Administration to identify the problems plaguing the launch of the Exchanges and the specific plans to fix the design flaws. The hearing will seek answers to why the Exchanges are not working, whether the Exchanges will be ready to fulfill all of their required functions and what steps are being taken to ensure that CMS and HHS will be able to accurately verify subsidy eligibility – prior to the distribution of premium tax credits and cost sharing subsidies.
In announcing the hearing, Chairman Camp stated, “After spending over $600 million, the American people want answers to some very basic questions about the launch of ObamaCare. Why doesn’t the website work? Why were the American people told everything would be ready, when it was clear that was not the case? How deep are the problems and how long will it take to get those problems fixed? And most importantly, if people can’t navigate such a dysfunctional and overly complex system, is it fair for the IRS to impose tax penalties?”
FOCUS OF THE HEARING:
The hearing will focus on the status of the Obama Administration’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:
Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, https://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.” Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.” Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. ATTACH your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Tuesday, November 12, 2013. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.
The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.
2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.
The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.
Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.