Sebelius Calls for Review of Contracting Practices

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Health and Human Services Secretary Wants to Bring in New Chief Risk Officer to Oversee Issues.

On Wednesday morning, the administration said that in the new health-insurance exchanges nearly 365,000 people nationwide have selected private health plans so far and another 1.9 million have been notified about whether they’ll qualify for federal subsidies to lower their monthly insurance cost—the first step toward enrolling in a new insurance plan.

Although enrollment figures grew in November, the administration remains far away from an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office that seven million uninsured Americans would enroll in private health plans under the exchanges next year.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, responding to the botched launch of the health-insurance website, said Wednesday she has called for a review of contracting practices and a new official to oversee risk.

“Every major promise the administration made about the [Affordable Care Act]–from being able to keep your health plan if you like it, to being able to keep your doctor if you want to, to the very premise of health reform in the first place, that the ACA would make health coverage more affordable—has proven to be wrong,” said Rep. Joe Pitts (R., Pa.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce’s health subcommittee.

Committee Democrats said the hearing was another opportunity for Republicans to complain about the law and harass Mrs. Sebelius. Republicans are “not sincerely concerned about the uninsured,” Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) said at the hearing. “It’s a constant political attack.”

Mrs. Sebelius said she was taking steps to prevent a recurrence of the problems. She said she has asked the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate internal management and contracting practices.

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