GAO: HIX Unready by October?

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , June 24, 2013

"For example, funding awards and development of a training curriculum for a key program that will provide outreach and enrollment assistance to small employers and employees have been delayed by about two months," GAO found. "Many key activities remained to be completed—some scheduled for near the start of enrollment in October 2013—and, as of May 2013, states were behind schedule in completing some key activities. In particular, about 44% of the key activities CMS initially targeted for completion by March 31 were behind schedule, although CMS reported that it had revised many target dates and other delays were not expected to affect exchange operations."

In his identical responses to both GAO reports, HHS' Esquea touted the "tremendous progress" that has been made in the three years since the PPACA became law.

"Earlier this year we successfully administered the qualified health plan submission process for the federally facilitated Marketplace. We published the final single streamlined application. We have announced several grant and contract programs that provide consumer assistance functions. We are in the final stages of finalizing and testing the IT infrastructure that will support the application and enrollment process," Esquea said in his letter.

"HHS is extremely confident that on Oct. 1 the marketplace will open on schedule and millions of Americans will have access to affordable quality health insurance."  

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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