Graves Presses Sebelius On Small Business Obamacare Enrollment Numbers
Administration Has Touted Individual Enrollment, But Remains Quiet About Small Business Program
WASHINGTON, DC – House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today wrote to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking about Small Business Health Options Program (SHOPs) enrollment progress, in light of the many problems the program has experienced. The Administration has regularly touted the overall enrollment numbers for the health law, but hasn’t released any information about the progress regarding SHOPs.
Graves wrote in the letter, “Although the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) health insurance exchanges opened on October 1, 2013, as you know, many features of the SHOP exchanges have been delayed. Small businesses are currently not able to shop for, select and enroll in health insurance plans in the online SHOP exchanges. As Chairman of the Committee on Small Business, I continue to be concerned about the ongoing misinformation, problems and delays that are affecting small business owners as the health care law is implemented.”
Graves continued, “I am writing to request enrollment data for the federal and state SHOP exchanges to date. Specifically, I am interested in the numbers of small businesses and the number of employees in each state who have enrolled and paid at least their first premium. If you do not have the numbers for those who have paid at least their first premium, please provide the numbers of small businesses and employees who have enrolled in the federal and in each state exchange. Please also provide the date by which you anticipate federal and state SHOP online enrollment to be fully operational.”
The rollout of the president’s health law has been riddled with many delays, mistakes and problems, and the SHOPs haven’t been immune from the mismanagement. On April 1, the Administration announced that the employer health insurance choice on the federal SHOP exchanges would be delayed until 2015, limiting employers to one single plan. In June, a GAO report requested by Chairman Graves, confirmed the administration was ill-equipped for the implementation of the SHOPs, showing potential for “implementation challenges going forward.” On September 26, HHS announced the SHOPs online enrollment would be postponed from October 1 until November. On November 22, the Administration extended the federal exchange signup deadline from December 15 to December 23. The day before Thanksgiving, the Administration announced a year-long delay of online enrollment for SHOPs. In December, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Director Gary Cohen testified before the Committee about the SHOPs, and his testimony provided insight on how these systemic problems were ignored to the detriment of small businesses.
Graves requested that answers to his questions be provided by February 7, 2014. To read the full letter to HHS, click HERE.