Exchange Information Disclosure Actby Representative Fred Upton
Posted on 2014-01-16
UPTON. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 3362, the
Exchange Information Disclosure Act.
This bill would require that HHS provide weekly progress reports regarding the President's health care law and attempt to ensure greater transparency from an administration that has done everything that it can so far to bury the facts when it comes to its signature health care law. Remember, this is the administration that knew millions of Americans would receive cancelation notices, but they only acted to allow people to keep their health care plans that they had and liked after we forced their hand back a few months ago. Perhaps by acting today we can again force them to do the right thing and share basic information with policymakers and the public about how the law is working or not.
In building healthcare.gov for the October 1 start of open enrollment, the administration chose not to allow Americans to window- shop and find accurate and reliable prices of health care plans in the exchange.
Over the last 17 weeks since the law was launched, this administration has released enrollment figures on just a handful of occasions. We are still left asking the most important question: ``Who's paid?'' Instead, the administration has gone to great lengths to redefine enrollment as the number of folks who have selected a plan through the exchanges. These numbers simply don't tell us the true status of the law, however. More than 3 months after the start of open enrollment, we still don't know how many Americans have actually enrolled in health plans by paying their first month's premium.
Just 1 day before the start of open enrollment, Secretary Sebelius defined success as enrolling 7 million Americans by the end of March of 2014. The administration has since distanced itself from enrollment being a measure of success at all. If enrolling individuals in health plans is not the goal, what is? Preventing access to reliable data about the exchanges is not exactly what you would expect from the self-proclaimed ``most transparent administration in history.'' It should not take a vote in Congress to get basic information from the administration, but without voluntary transparency, we don't have any other choice.
The bill before us would require HHS to provide accurate, useful figures about enrollment and the operation of the exchanges on a weekly basis. It also is going to require HHS to report to the American people other key metrics, including demographics of enrollees, Medicaid enrollment, regular reporting on ongoing problems with healthcare.gov, and HHS' efforts to address those issues.
The President's health care law will cost the taxpayers an estimated $2 trillion over the next decade. At the very least, the administration should provide the American people regular and ongoing information about its implementation. There is no reason for the administration to keep the public and the Congress in the dark. Whether the news is good or bad, it is time for full disclosure.
I urge my colleagues to support the bill, and I applaud Mr. Terry for his leadership.