Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Lambasted Health Care Act Implementation

Speaking before Congress on Wednesday, Sep. 12, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine delivered scorching remarks on how the United States federal government is coordinating the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) implementation.

Consedine pointed out during a hearing of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, the failure of the U.S. Derpartment of Health and Human Services to issue regulations on how states shall implement key components of the controversial health care law including the health insurance exchanges.

According to the insurance commissioner, Pennsylvania is still “feeling directionless on this road”, referring to how the state must implement the law.

Consedine who was asked recently to chair a working group for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that will work on how to address issues with the health insurance exchanges, expressed his hope on the hearing that they shall be provided with the needed guidance and direction on how to implement the said provision.

With the Affordable Care Act, all states are required to put up health insurance exchanges by January 2014.

Two weeks before testifying on the said Congress hearing, Consedine have wrote a letter to Kathleen Sebeliuss, Health and Human Services Secretary, outlining questions that state insurance regulators felt the need to be answered as to how they can make informed decisions on the establishment of health insurance exchanges. Consedine reiterated on his testimony on the hearing that until that day, the said federal department has not yet responded to his letter.

Consedine added to his testimony that “a poorly executed federal exchange launch and transition from current market rules to the new ACA rules” can result to “severe market disruptions” and can weaken the states’ control on their insurance markets.

The information that are missing for the fundamental aspects on the operation of such exchanges, according to Consedine include the application requirements, citizen and income verification and appeals processes. But Consedine told lawmakers that the said list of missing details goes on. Apparently, Consedine in his letter to Sebeliuss have outlined 26 specific questions.