BLOOMBERG BNA: GOP Lawmakers Demand Answers On Medicaid Expansion, Exchanges
Aug 27, 2012 -
By Ralph Lindeman
Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Aug. 20 cited “growing concern” about delays at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in providing guidance to states about implementation of the health care reform law.
In a sharply worded letter to acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, the GOPlawmakers said “regulatory uncertainty has crippled states and health providers in their ability to plan for future Medicaid expansions or state insurance exchanges.”
The letter from Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the committee chairman, and Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (R-Pa.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, said that CMS has not yet responded to letters from Republican governors and state Medicaid directors that included nearly 60 specific questions asking about implementation of the health care reform law.
“While it seems [CMS] intends to delay any major announcements until after November, states do not have the luxury of procrastination,” the letter said.
In July, the Republican Governors Association and the National Association of Medicaid Directors wrote, in separate letters, to Health and Human ServicesSecretary Kathleen Sebelius and Tavenner, asking for guidance on issues related to the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision, which made the health care law's Medicaid expansion voluntary on the part of the states.
Regulations in Limbo
Upton and Pitts also complained about a lack of information about the status of several regulations related to the development and implementation of state health insurance exchanges, which are supposed to be operational by January2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“Basic requirements, such as essential health benefits and actuarial value, have not even been outlined in a proposed rule,” they noted.
The letter continued, “The near silence from HHS on these critical issues is all the more alarming given that the department has required states to submit an exchange application by Nov. 16, 2012, and we are less than 100 days away from this deadline.”
Upton and Pitts requested that Tavenner respond to the questions contained in theletters from the RGA and NAMD by Sept. 3. They also asked her to provide anoutline of all outstanding exchange and Medicaid-related regulations and a time line for their expected completion, also by Sept. 3.
For More Information
A copy of the letter is at http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/Media/file/Letters/112th/082012Tavenner.pdf.