A top Democrat who helped write President Barack Obama's health care law says he fears it is headed for a "huge train wreck."
Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana confronted Obama's health secretary Wednesday during a routine budget hearing that turned tense.
Baucus, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said he is "very concerned" that new health insurance marketplaces going live next year in every state will be a flop. Consumers and small business owners are not getting enough information, and the administration has not been forthcoming with lawmakers, he said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius blamed Congress for blocking implementation funding for the law, which is supposed to bring coverage to nearly 30 million uninsured Americans.
Baucus pressed Sebelius for details about how HHS will explain the law and raise awareness of its key provisions, which are supposed to take effect in just a matter of months, The Hill reported.
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"I'm very concerned that not enough is being done so far — very concerned," Baucus said.
Baucus wanted Sebelius to explain how her department will overcome entrenched misunderstandings about Obamacare, especially when it comes to small business.
"Small businesses have no idea what to do, what to expect," Baucus said.
Baucus then asked Sebelius for specifics about how it is measuring public understanding of the law.
"You need data. Do you have any data? You've never given me data. You only give me concepts, frankly," Baucus told Sebelius.
"I'm going to keep on this until I feel a lot better about it," Baucus told Sebelius.
"For the marketplaces to work, people need to know about them," he added. "People need to know their options and how to enroll."
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