WSJ: HHS Making a Mess Out of Obamacare Implementation

Friday, 14 Dec 2012 11:54 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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The Health and Human Services Department is doing a terrible job getting rules and regulations in place ahead of the October 2013 start of the healthcare reform law, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial.

“The size and complexity of the Affordable Care Act meant that its implementation was never going to be easy,” Journal editors write. “But behind the scenes, even states that support or might support the Affordable Care Act are frustrated about the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department's special combination of rigidity and ineptitude.”

The HHS already has issued more than 13,000 pages of regulations, but basic questions remain unanswered, the editorial says. “Most of what we know so far comes from a 17-page question-and-answer document that HHS divulged this week, though none of the answers have the force of law, and HHS says they're subject to change at any moment.”

HHS generally gives 60 days for public comment on normal regulations and 90 days or more on complex regulations. But for Obamacare it’s only 30 days, Journal editors write. “The larger problem is that HHS' Federal Register filings reveal many of the rules were approved in-house and ready to go as early as May. Why the delay?”

The department simply isn’t cooperating with states, the editorial says. “In a word, HHS is treating the states not as the partners it needs to give Obamacare any chance of success, but as serfs.”

The state insurance exchanges required under Obamacare are another area where the administration is lagging, the editorial says. About 20 percent of Americans – 62 million people — might use the exchanges, making them a pretty big deal. But at a congressional hearing Thursday, “Obamacare point man Gary Cohen all but took the Fifth on how he'll deal with this and other challenges,” Journal editors say.




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