HEARING ADVISORY: Chairman Herger Announces Hearing on Implementation of Health Insurance Exchanges and Related Provisions

September 5, 2012 — Hearing Advisory   



House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Wally Herger (R-CA) today announced that the Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing to examine implementation of health insurance exchanges as authorized by the Democrats’ health care law (P.L. 111-148 and 111-152).  The hearing will take place on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 2:30 PM.

In view of the limited time available to hear from witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only.  However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Subcommittee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.  A list of witnesses will follow.


The Democrats’ health care law calls for the creation, operation, and regulation of health insurance exchanges.  The health care law states that exchanges must meet minimum operational standards, provide for the certification of qualified health plans (QHP), and facilitate Medicaid and plan enrollment. 

The health care law requires states to establish exchanges, in accordance with federal law and subsequent regulations, by January 1, 2014.  Eligibility for premium and cost-sharing subsidies, which are financed through cuts to Medicare and tax increases on families and employers, are tied to enrollment in a QHP offered in state-established exchanges.   If a state is unwilling or unable to establish an exchange, the law authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a federal exchange within the state.  States have until November 16, 2012, to declare their intentions.

Open enrollment in the exchanges begins on October 1, 2013.  Plans are required to be certified as a QHP prior to open enrollment.  Additionally, enrollment is predicated on the establishment and operation of information technology infrastructure, referred to as the data hub, to accurately and reliably transmit sensitive personal data.  Prior to open enrollment, states, insurers, and other federal agencies need to conduct tests with the data hub, to ensure citizenship, income, plan enrollment, and other data necessary for eligibility determinations can be transmitted accurately and securely.  This is clearly a significant undertaking.

However, to date, the Obama Administration has failed to publish final regulations to guide states, employers, and health plans as to what will be expected of them when open enrollment begins, including regulations on mandated benefit packages, new insurance regulatory mandates, expected enrollee costs, and much of the exchange-related information.  Instead, the Administration has often relied on “bulletins,” which are not enforceable by law and are issued without first conducting a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

Between 2012 and 2022, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate exchanges will process more than $1 trillion in premium and cost-sharing subsidies.  Additionally, exchanges are also responsible for facilitating Medicaid enrollment, which CBO and JCT estimate will result in an additional expenditure of more than $640 billion.

In announcing the hearing, Chairman Herger stated, “In just over a year, the Democrats’ health care law is slated to begin funneling more than $1.6 trillion in taxpayer and Medicare beneficiary and provider-funded subsidies through state-based insurance exchanges.  However, the necessary regulations for exchange operation, plan design, and eligibility still have not been finalized by the Obama Administration, leaving many to question whether political motivations are delaying the release of much-needed guidance for states, employers and health plans.   Such uncertainty threatens to saddle stakeholders with higher costs and also increases the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse.  Given this massive undertaking, the hearing will allow the subcommittee to hear about the progress and the pitfalls associated with this unprecedented expansion of government into America’s health care system.”


The hearing will focus on the implementation status of health insurance exchanges and related regulations.


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 September 26, 2012.  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/.