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May 9, 2014

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In This Issue
One Hearing Down, One To Go
Energy and Commerce Put Insurers on the Spot
Why No One Wants to Be the Administration’s Friday Night
Would You Take This Back Please?
SHOP Webinar Announcement From CMS
What We’re Reading
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One Hearing Down, One To Go

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Obama’s pick to replace outgoing secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, sailed through her first confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on Thursday morning. Burwell currently heads the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and is well liked by members on both sides of the aisle. Last year, she was confirmed as the head of OMB by a 96-0 vote in the Senate. While she is expected to eventually be confirmed as the next secretary of HHS, she is likely to have a Senator or two vote against her this time around... Read More

Energy and Commerce Put Insurers on the Spot

For months, Republican members of Congress have been pressing the Administration to release detailed information on the number of Americans who have enrolled in insurance coverage through the exchanges and focusing, for the most part, on the number of people who have actually paid their premiums. Since the Administration has claimed they don’t have access to that information, the insurers do, the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee called several top executives from WellPoint, AHIP, BCBSA, Health Care Service Corporation, Cigna and Aetna to the stand on Wednesday... Read More

Why No One Wants to Be the Administration’s Friday Night
Lady Antebellum really should scratch the Verizon Center of its list of potential 2015 tour venues, because Friday night in D.C. is more about trying to ignore the brand-new regulatory guidance flooding into your inbox as you try to leave the office than it is the summertime sunshine and being barefoot in the moonlight. Last Friday was no exception as around 5 p.m. the Administration pushed out a proposed rule to better align COBRA notices with health reform requirements and some revised model general and model election notices along with a revised CHIPRA notice, some new FAQs about health reform implementation, a bulletin on special enrollment periods, a final rule that addresses how the exchanges are required to report tax credit information to the IRS and some technical corrections to the information reporting requirements rule regarding the individual mandate. Let’s take them one at a time, shall we?... Read More
Would You Take This Back Please?
While the rollout of the federal health insurance marketplace, and Healthcare.gov in particular, was less than stellar, the rollouts of some state exchange websites were worse. Things were so bad in a few states that serious talk is going on about flipping back to the federal plan. So far, Oregon and Massachusetts have announced they will be transitioning, at least temporarily, to a federal exchange. Maryland also struggled this year to run its own exchange, but now is in the process of revamping their exchange by copying Connecticut’s well-functioning technology to achieve improvement. Additionally, Hawaii, Vermont and Nevada have exchanges that in some way or another have struggled to get fully off the ground. The states still have a few more weeks before they have to notify the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of any potential changes... Read More
SHOP Webinar Announcement From CMS

Though individual open enrollment is now closed, enrollment in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) continues on a monthly basis throughout 2014. To ensure agents and brokers have the latest information on SHOP and other health reform topics impacting small businesses, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Small Business Administration (SBA) and Small Business Majority are running an Affordable Care Act 101 webinar series occurring throughout the month of May. While the content will be the same each week, you are welcome to attend more than one webinar to listen to the different questions asked and answers provided... Read More

What We’re Reading

This week, in addition to providing some brilliant political and health policy pieces to peruse, we are solving your family relationship problems, making your presentations better and giving you a brilliant mother’s day idea. Yes, we answer to Wonder Woman... Read More

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