Despite the shock wave that hit Capitol Hill this week as news of Eric Cantor losing his primary battle and stepping down as majority leader broke, the hearings on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) continued as usual. The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight held a hearing earlier this week on the challenges associated with verifying income and insurance information given the delay of the reporting requirements under PPACA. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, Ryan Ellis, tax policy director of the Americans for Tax Reform and IRS registered tax return preparer, Katie W. Mahoney, executive director of Health Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Bryan C. Skarlatos, partner of Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP and Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA all testified before the committee. All of the witnesses in some shape or form agreed that verifying a consumer’s income when applying for health insurance subsidies should be done accurately. Some of the more PPACA supportive witnesses however, claimed that the reports of income reporting inconsistencies are less of a problem than they seem. Ron Pollack of Families USA went on to suggest that “Congress needs to give exchange managers and other program managers flexibility to help consumers who did their best to provide accurate information. Congress should provide caps on how much money consumers who make mistakes will owe, and provide flexibility that program managers can use to disregard problems that were fixed quickly.”
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health also held a PPACA related hearing this week that focused on access to healthcare under PPACA. Witnesses included: Scott Gottlieb, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; Monica Lindeen, commissioner of the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, and William Harvey, chair of the American College of Rheumatology's Government Affairs Committee. Prior to the hearing, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) began circulating a poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies that found that nearly three-fourths of consumers with an exchange health plan have a “very” or “mostly” favorable opinion of their plan while 10% view it unfavorably.