In a Friday appearance before the House Ways and Means Committee, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offered assurances about the readiness of 33 federally run health insurance marketplaces and answered questions about health care "navigators."
The Hill: Sebelius: Exchanges Will Be Ready On Time, No Need For Backup Plan
The Health and Human Services Department will meet its central ObamaCare deadline and does not need a backup plan for delays, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Friday. Sebelius told the House Ways and Means Committee that a federally run insurance exchange will be up and running by Oct. 1 (Baker, 4/12).
CQ HealthBeat: HHS Draws $304 Million From Prevention Fund To Enroll Uninsured
The Department of Health and Human Services disclosed on one of its websites Friday that it will use $304 million from the health care law's prevention fund to pay some expenses associated with enrolling people in insurance under the overhaul. Public health lobbyists recently warned that the Obama administration would begin tapping the fund to pay to stand up the federal exchange, which is expected to help provide coverage for a projected 30 million Americans (Reichard, 4/13).
The Hill: GOP Members Question Healthcare 'Navigators'
House Republicans want more information about the Obama administration's $54 million grants to help people navigate the new insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act. On Friday, six GOP members of the Energy and Commerce Committee wrote a letter asking Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seven questions about the grants, which will allow "navigators" to help consumers shop for healthcare in new insurance exchanges (Hattem, 4/12).
CQ HealthBeat: House Republicans Probe HHS Rollout Of Navigator Program
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee Friday asked the Obama administration for additional details surrounding the navigator program that will be key to helping Americans enroll in health insurance exchanges come this fall. Among their questions are how many navigators will be deployed across the country, the source of funding for the program, how navigators will be chosen, their salaries and their training (Norman, 4/12).
Kaiser Health News also tracked weekend health policy headlines, including reports about Sebelius' Friday appearance before a congressional committee (4/12).