Exchange Information Disclosure Actby Representative G. K. Butterfield
Posted on 2014-01-16
BUTTERFIELD. Thank you, Mr. Pallone, for yielding time, and
especially thank you for your leadership on our committee. It has been
nothing less than extraordinary.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to the Exchange Information Disclosure Act. This bill would cost millions of dollars of limited Federal resources but doesn't include any mechanism for paying for it. It is an unnecessary piece of legislation that will have no impact or benefit to the American people. It is just the latest attempt by the Republican majority to incite fear and distrust of the Federal health insurance marketplace and discredit President Obama and the Affordable Care Act.
Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent wrote that the Exchange Information Disclosure Act is ``a political attack coming from a party that wants to see the law fail.'' The House has voted 47 times, Mr. Speaker, on bills that would repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act, but not one of them has become law.
My friend Mr. Terry's bill that we are considering today marks the 48th attempt, and it is another nail in the coffin of haphazard Republican efforts to disenfranchise the American people by chipping away at the Affordable Care Act, with the ultimate goal of taking away Americans' access to affordable health care.
Make no mistake, this bill is not about transparency and open government. Its true purpose is to pile on more and more unnecessary, cumbersome, and unprecedented requirements so that HHS will be forced to focus time and attention away from managing the Federal health insurance marketplace and redirect it to completing worthless weekly reports.
I am particularly disappointed in the committee process--or more accurately, the lack of committee process--with regard to this bill. I sit on Energy and Commerce's Health Subcommittee, and at no point did the chairman of the subcommittee nor the full committee hold a legislative hearing or markup on this bill. I don't recall one. Surely, adding mountains of onerous reporting requirements that will cost the government millions in order to comply would have warranted an opportunity for members to weigh in before it was brought to the floor. Apparently, the [[Page H1221]] chairman of the committee felt differently.
This bill is now the 48th example of House Republicans pandering to their base by ramming through partisan policies that attack the President. The bill would require HHS to supply Congress weekly reports detailing the number of unique Web site visitors to healthcare.gov, the number of chat logins, the number of enrollees by ZIP Code, their level of coverage, and other data sets. What exactly my friends hope to accomplish with this weekly data dump still escapes me.
Perhaps House Republicans weren't aware of the extensive disclosure of data on health insurance enrollments that is already being provided on a monthly basis. The administration releases enrollment data monthly, Mr. Speaker, just like they do with Medicare, CHIP, and other Federal programs.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.