Graves’ Concerns Regarding Obamacare Small Business Program Continue To Go Unanswered

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Washington, Jun 27 | comments

WASHINGTON, DC – House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) released the following statement after again hearing from the Obama Administration that no enrollment data or metrics exists for the health care law’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP):

“The mismanagement of the Small Business Health Options program is very frustrating,” said Graves. “The Administration isn’t able to answer even the most basic questions about the program’s enrollment or its progress. Going back to last year, the program’s delays and lack of choices have contributed to headache after headache for small businesses who are trying to follow all of the twists and turns of the program. It’s astonishing how little information has been disclosed about a law in which the taxpayers are investing billions. What is the Administration hiding?”

Earlier this month, Graves wrote to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to request information about the SHOP enrollment for the second time this year. The Administration responded this week with general information about the program, but shared no enrollment data or timetable.

In January, Graves requested enrollment numbers and related information from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The Administration responded in March, a month after the requested deadline, that the metrics were unavailable, but would be available at a later date.

This list of delays and mismanagement of SHOP:

• On April 1, 2013 the Obama 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, 2013 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, 2013 the Health and Human Services Department announced the SHOPs online enrollment would be postponed from October 1 until November, forcing small businesses to enroll using paper forms. That same day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clarified the enrollment would begin on November 1, 2013.
• During a Ways and Means Committee hearing on October 29, 2013, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said the SHOPs would be operating at the end of November.
• On November 22, the administration extended the Obamacare federal exchange signup deadline (for January 1 coverage) from December 15 to December 23.
• On November 27, 2013, the day before Thanksgiving, the Administration announced a fourth SHOP-related delay, postponing online enrollment for a full year.
• On June 10, 2014, CMS delayed the employee choice option until at least 2016, further limiting the breadth of choice.

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