House HIX Testimony Falls on Deaf Ears

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , September 11, 2013

So imagine my surprise when a press release from the E&C Committee arrived in my e-mail Tuesday with this headline: As Health Law's Open Enrollment Approaches, Missed Deadlines, Delays, and Data Security Concerns Cause Headaches for All Involved.

The press release includes this statement from Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the E&C Committee chair: "We are now three weeks from the exchanges opening for enrollment, and questions and uncertainties continue to overwhelm. "Issues related to readiness testing and functionality of the exchanges have yet to be addressed. Missed deadlines, delays and untimely guidance will affect critical components of the exchanges, including eligibility determinations, integration with existing state programs, and coordination among agencies." The release includes statements from only two witnesses—Graham and Lenz.

Is it too much to expect an honest assessment of the entire meeting? Good news was delivered, but once again the partisan focus is to make healthcare reform seem like a losing proposition.

Elsewhere in Washington on Tuesday, federal officials announced that the data hub has been security tested and will be operational by September 30. The data hub is a networked system for verifying consumers' Social Security numbers, immigration status and other information when they log on to health insurance exchanges had been delayed, and beset by security concerns.

Let's see what transpires at Thursday's House homeland security subcommittee hearing on the security and reliability of the health exchange data hub.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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