Burwell Blasted For Dodging Questions On Subsidy Contingency Plans
Republicans unsuccessfully sought answers from Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell about what the administration would do if the Supreme Court invalidates subsidies in federal exchange states. Meanwhile, a bipartisan bill to exempt veterans from the health law's employer mandate would add $900 million to the deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The Associated Press:
GOP Senator: HHS Chief's Answers 'Contemptuous'
A top Republican senator accused the Health and Human Services secretary of being "contemptuous" of Congress on Wednesday by sidestepping questions about Obama administration preparations for a Supreme Court challenge to President Barack Obama's health care law. At a Senate Finance Committee hearing, GOP senators repeatedly asked HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell about her plans should the court rule that federal subsidies for millions of Americans' health insurance are illegal. A decision in the case is expected by June. (2/4)
Republicans Blast Burwell For Not Addressing Health Care Law Contingencies
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell drew Republican ire Wednesday for repeatedly dodging questions about whether the Obama administration has contingency plans in case the Supreme Court invalidates the process for distributing health care law subsidies for insurance in states using the healthcare.gov federal exchange. A handful of GOP senators pressed Burwell at a Senate Finance hearing on the Obama administration’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal, with Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, initiating the most heated exchange. (Attias, 2/4)
The Fiscal Times:
Veteran Obamacare Fix Adds $900 Million to Deficit
Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have miraculously come to an agreement on one Obamacare fix—but it comes at a cost. The Congressional Budget Office crunched the numbers on the “Hire More Heroes Act”-- which exempts working veterans from the health law’s employer mandate—and found that it would add nearly $900 million to the deficit. (Ehley, 2/4)
Medicare Should Split From HHS, Hatch Says
Congress should split the agency that runs the Affordable Care Act and Medicare from the Department of Health and Human Services to keep the White House from having too much influence over its operation, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch said Wednesday. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which administers the health programs for the elderly and poor, is too big, said Hatch, a Utah Republican. (Wayne, 2/4)
David Vitter Opens Investigation Into Hill’s Obamacare Implementation
Sen. David Vitter is not backing off his years-long quest to undermine Obamacare’s implementation on Capitol Hill, even as he runs for governor of Louisiana. As the Louisiana Republican preps for this year’s gubernatorial race, he’s using his new chairmanship of the Senate Small Business Committee to open up an investigation into what he calls a “Washington exemption” for the Affordable Care Act — the ability of some Capitol Hill aides to continue receiving federal contributions for their health care on Obamacare’s exchanges. (Everett and Haberkorn, 2/4)